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Health official faces harshest disciplinary punishment

Health official faces harshest disciplinary punishment

THURSDAY, November 16, 2017

A SENIOR Public Health Ministry official has been sacked from the civil service without pension benefits for allegedly sexually harassing several subordinates over a number of years, committing a serious disciplinary breach, according to permanent secretary Dr Jessada Chokdamrongsuk.

At a meeting yesterday of the civil service subcommittee at the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Jessada said officials unanimously resolved to fire the unnamed 40-year-old official. 
A disciplinary probe committee had recommended that the official be dismissed, but left open the decision on whether he should retain his pension benefits. 
Although the accused official resigned on October 1, the punishment means he will be stripped of his pension.
The official can appeal against the punishment with the civil service subcommittee or at the Administrative Court.
The scandal emerged in August after a temporary female employee, 30, filed a complaint with the ministry and submitted a video clip as evidence that she had been groped by the accused since 2014, often in front of her colleagues. She said she could not tolerate the behaviour any longer. 
The video clip, which her colleague helped to record, purportedly showed sexual harassment at her office, which is a unit under the ministry’s Office of the Permanent Secretary. 
Several other victims have since come forward after the disciplinary investigation began.
In mid-August, Muang Nonthaburi Police also filed a criminal charge against the official alleging an indecent act against a person aged over 15 involving threats or the victim’s inability to resist. The official was also selected from a police line-up by the woman who filed the original complaint.
The offence could lead to up to 10 years in jail, a Bt20,000 fine, or both. 
The official has claimed that he did not molest the woman and stated that he would fight the accusation in court.