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Ombudsman dropped probe against city police chief Sanit


The Ombudsman’s Office has decided to end its probe into city police chief Lt-General Sanit Mahathavorn allegedly earning Bt50,000 a month as an adviser to the country’s biggest producer of alcoholic drinks, Thai Beverage, after deciding there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case.

After a delay in providing information in the matter, Sanit told the Ombudsman’s Office that there was a mistake on his asset declaration as a new member of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA).
He said he had asked others to handle the declaration for him and he had never worked for the firm. 
Thai Beverage said in a letter to the office that it did not hire Sanit as an adviser.
Ombudsman’s Office secretary-general Rakkecha Chaechai was quoted as saying by Isara News Agency following a meeting of the office on Tuesday.
Rakkecha said the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) would determine if Sanit had submitted all related documents for his asset declaration.
But he said the documents presented would not be checked until after Sanit left the NLA position, at which time it would be determined if his assets were unusually amassed during the time he held the position. 
As his asset declaration included a Bt50,000 monthly adviser fee from Thai Beverage since 2015, Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association of Organisations for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, had filed a petition with the Ombudsman’s Office calling for a probe.
Rakkecha said the Ombudsman’s Office sent a notice to Sanit warning him to be more careful in the future by thoroughly checking documents when complied by another person on his behalf and submitted to an official body signed by him.
Rakkecha said Sanit’s excuse that a mistake had been made in the filling of the form is inappropriate. 
As a senior state official, Sanit must set a good example for others to follow or his ethics could be called into question, he said. 
“The ombudsman’s ruling didn’t say if Sanit is wrong or right because that is the NACC’s job,” Rakkecha said. “The ombudsman only considered the ethics in the matter.
“So when the evidence against him remains unclear, we couldn’t take the matter any further. If in future Sanit turned out to be the firm’s adviser, then we would consider this case again.”

Published : March 15, 2017

By : The Nation