Probe your own brother, Yingluck tells junta chief

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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.”

Photo: EPA

Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra wants al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion against the prime min­is­ter’s brother to be in­ves­ti­gated by the au­thor­i­ties.

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