BANGKOK – Junta Leader, Prayut Chan-o-cha has sidelined 71 officials issuing an order to transfer 29 senior officials and civil servants to inactive posts and suspend 42 executives of local bodies from duty without their salaries pending alleged corruption investigations.
His order, issued under Section 44 of the interim constitution, was published in the Royal Gazette on Thursday.
Among those sidelined is permanent secretary for tourism and sports Suwat Sidthilaw who is transferred to special adviser to the PM’s Office. He is not entitled to position and travel allowances upon assuming his new post.
The list, issued under Order 16/2015 of the National Council for Peace and Order, categorized the 70 other officials into five groups: civil servants, public organizations, executives of provincial administration organizations (PAOs), executives of tambon administration organizations (TAOs), municipal mayors and Councillors, and local officials attached to local bodies.
The 21 senior civil officials in the first group have been transferred to their respective permanent secretary’s office.
Among them are Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, director-general of the Interior Ministry’s Community Development Department; Supachai Samappitor, rector of Mahasarakham University, and Winai Sawasdivorn, secretary-general of the National Health Security Office (NHSO).
Those in the second, third, and fourth groups, comprising 42 executives of local bodies, have been suspended without receiving salaries.
Among them are Chonsawat Asavahame, chairman of the Samut Prakan PAO, and Pornchai Korsurat, chairman of the Ubon Ratchathani PAO.
In the fifth group, seven local officials attached to local bodies in Samut Prakan, Khon Kaen and Chiang Rai have been transferred to provincial halls at their respective provinces.
A source at the NCPO’s anti-corruption centre said Mr Suwat was moved from the permanent secretary post over the purchase of overpriced exercise and recreational items. Mr Chonsawat was suspected of being involved in alleged irregularities in budget spending in Samut Prakan. Mr Winai is accused of alleged budget mismanagement at the NHSO.
Earlier, Gen Prayut issued an order to suspend 45 government and local administrative officials pending corruption allegations against them.