Corruption chief feels ‘no pressure’ in watch scandal
NATIONAL Anti Corruption Commission President Pol General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said yesterday that he feels no pressure to investigate his former boss who has been the subject of public speculation over an unreported wristwatch and diamond ring.
Watcharapol said he is waiting for Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan’s response to a demand from the NACC that he explain within 30 days how the assets were required. Watcharapol said he feels no pressure to press ahead with the probe even though people would accuse him of being too close to the deputy PM.
Prawit should already have evidence to prove his innocence, he said.
During last week’s photo shoot of the new Cabinet at Government House, Prawit was seen to possess an extravagant wristwatch and a diamond ring which had not previously been reported to the NACC. The revelation was widely discussed on social media.
After the news broke, the anti-graft body announced it would launch a probe into what appeared to be a multi-million-baht Richard Mille watch worn by the junta’s deputy prime minister, as well as a large diamond ring.
Under NACC law, political office-holders as well as high-ranking officials must report their assets before assuming their posts and after they leave the posts. They are not required to declare assets while in office.
Prawit reportedly declared no assets worth more than Bt200,000 when he entered the Cabinet in 2014.
Watcharapol said the NACC required him to clarify the facts about the watch and the ring, and would then check the facts to see whether there was any wrongdoing in the deputy PM’s report of declared assets.
The NACC would not be able to expedite the case considering the 30-day response deadline given to Prawit.
Watcharapol said he was not worried about the case because the NACC has certain regulations to follow and did not feel any pressure on him, despite his close relationship to Prawit.