Probe your own brother, Yingluck tells junta chief
THAILAND’S first female prime minister told the man who ousted her government two years ago to investigate his own brother over corruption allegations in an unusually strong broadside against the junta.
Yingluck Shinawatra was booted from office shortly before army chief Prayut Chan-o-Cha seized power in May 2014, the military’s second coup in less than a decade and their 12th successful power grab since 1932.
Since then she has been hit with a raft of junta-led prosecutions including a retroactive impeachment, an ongoing criminal negligence trial that could see her jailed for up to a decade and a separate move to seize more than US$1 billion in damages.
“The prime minister [Prayut]says that all the legal actions against me are based on the law and are not bullying,” Ms Yingluck wrote on her Facebook account yesterday.
“I would like the prime minister to apply the same justice given to me like he gives justice and protection to his brother and other people who are on his side. Because the laws should be enforced for everyone, not just used against my side.”
Her comments were a direct reference to new corruption allegations that have surfaced this month against Prime Minister Prayut’s brother Preecha Chan-o-Cha, who is also a senior army general.
Local media said one of Mr Preecha’s sons had won a series of lucrative construction contracts from Thailand’s Third Army, which he used to command.
Mr Preecha insisted his son won the contracts in a fair tender process and denied any allegations of wrongWHO
doing, but it is not the first time the junta chief’s brother has had to deny negative headlines.
Earlier this year he admitted helping another son land a well-paid officer job in the military.
And when the junta ordered senior officials to reveal their wealth – part of a post-coup attempt at transparency – Mr Preecha had $1.2 million in his bank account, money he said was military assets he looked after, not his own personal wealth.
Such headlines have stung Mr Prayut, who portrays himself as a sincere graft-buster. He has defended his coup as necessary to root out political corruption and end years of instability between competing factions.
However, critics say his regime has been selective in graft prosecutions.
Mr Prayut appeared to distance himself from his brother in comments yesterday, the first time he has addressed the issue in detail.
“A brother is a brother. It’s not the same as me,” he said. “He is not stupid. But I do not make a guarantee for him because it is his responsibility.”
Yingluck Shinawatra wants allegations of corruption against the prime minister’s brother to be investigated by the authorities.