World Bulletin/News Desk
Asset declarations by members of the Thai government have revealed that most are extremely well-off, not unlike the politicians they are opposing in their publicly declared fight against corruption, according to figures released Friday by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
Junta leader and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha -- who led a coup against the civilian government of Yingluck Shinawatra May 22 -- is himself a dollar millionaire. He has listed $3.9 million dollars in assets and $20,000 in debt. As an army chief until the end of September, he had an annual salary of $43,000.
He mentions his prized possessions as a Mercedes Benz S600L and a BMW 740Li, and declares that he has transferred $14.3 million to other family members.
Of the 33 cabinet ministers, 25 are millionaires in dollar terms, with Deputy-Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakul, a former central bank governor, the richest of the lot with $42 million in assets. Prime Minister's Office Minister Panadda Diskul -- an aristocrat who has spent his career within the interior ministry -- is the second richest, with $40.2 million.
The poorest member of the cabinet, Narong Pipatanasai, holds the education portfolio and has disclosed a mere $215,000 in assets with a debt of $89,000.
Some cabinet members and national legislative assembly members had shown a reluctance to disclose their assets, but were ordered to so by the commission. It said, however, that members of the National Reform Council, a military-selected body in charge of overhauling the political system, did not have to disclose theirs because they were only “academics.”
After the May 22 coup, the military junta made the fight against corruption its main priority.
In September it was heavily criticized for the purchase of a state-of-the-art microphone system for government house at prices way above the market price of the equipment, although Diskul has denied claims it was overpriced.Last Mod: 01 Kasım 2014, 12:50