While there is no news to report regarding Rolls Royce and other related corruption cases, there are more allegations of corruption facing the junta. These are not charges of fabricating plots and murders, but about state action and inaction.
The first story is about wealthy minor prince and former junta minion (two juntas, in fact, the one resulting from the 2006coup and from the 2014 coup).
Former deputy prime minister Pridiyathorn Devakula has very publicly complained about an “irregular move by the military” to “form a national oil corporation that he said would have unrestrained power.”
The National Legislative Assembly has rejigged a Petroleum Bill “in its second and third readings” to “centralise all authority in the management and allocation of national energy in one organisation.” Pridiyathorn says a “group of military officers was behind the addition…”.
He adds that they tried it before, when he was deputy prime minister. He says they were “six former high-ranking military officers in the NLA…”.
He asks: “Why does it emerge in the second reading, and why does the cabinet let it happen?” The answer is that the corrupt military men want to further enrich themselves.
Pridiyathorn explains: “Such a corporation with rights to all petroleum sources in the country could do more than one may imagine. It could organise bidding contests, or even form subsidiaries.” He adds: “When regulation and operation rest within one organisation, who will do the scrutiny? Finally, we cannot control it.” Then as a “good” person of high birth, he adds the bogey: “If politicians later influence it, you will be sorry…”.
Right. But for the moment, it is a bunch of military politicians who will make more money than they thought possible.
The second story is from the anti-corruption activist Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution. He focuses on borders and the Cambodian border in particular. He claims that “Deputy Prime Minister [General] Prawit Wongsuwon and 2nd Army commander Lt Gen Wichai Saejorhor of neglect of duty in allowing a casino to be built by Cambodian investors in a disputed border area was filed with the Ombudsman on Monday.”
Borders are the preserve of the corrupt military, allowing considerable wealth accumulation. Borders are, as shown during the past few governments, politically important in Thailand. Srisuwan claims that by “allowing private individuals to invest in a gambling business in the area, the agencies responsible had committed malfeasance, causing damage to society and the country…”.
Both are potentially explosive claims. However, the junta will ambiguate and threaten the media that reports any news that they think destabilize their grip on power.
Update: The Dictator blinked on oil, sort of. He “has rejected the idea of having the Defence Energy Department initially run the national oil corporation if it is to be set up.” He acknowledged that the “idea” for a national company came from “the Thai Energy Reform group led by Rossana Tositrakul, ML Kornkasiwat Kasemsri and Panthep Puapongphan.” All are paid-up yellow shirts and ultra-nationalists. Prayuth kept the idea of a national company open, but not run by the military, at least not for this moment.
On a casino in a disputed border area, the claim has been denied, as expected, but ultra-nationalists are at work again.