BANGKOK – Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has warned officials they risked facing malfeasance charges if they do not hunt down fugitive former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra after recent photos circulating on social media apparently showed she had been in London.
The Office of the Attorney-General had said on Tuesday (Jan 9) that it had not requested her extradition yet, citing a lack of information about her whereabouts.
Gen Prawit said on Thursday prosecutors, police and the Foreign Ministry must work together to track down Yingluck or face prosecution for malfeasance or dereliction of duty, The Bangkok Post reported.
Commenting on whether the photos of Yingluck had been released in order to shame Thai officials for failing to hunt her down, Gen Prawit said that it was still not known if Yingluck was using a passport issued by another country.
Meanwhile, Gen Prawit is facing public scrutiny of his own after Anti-Corruption activist Srisuwan Janya provided more evidence to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) about another 16 luxury watches seen worn the Deputy PM adding to information on three other watches he had already submitted yesterday.
The deputy premier has kept a low profile since the report on a Richard Mille watch he was wearing went viral. He also postponed an annual New Year meeting with military-beat reporters from next Monday to the month’s end.
Prawit is in hot water as his watch collection has raised questions about his wealth as well as the accuracy of his asset disclosure under the anti-graft law. Prawit has not declared any assets exceeding Bt200,000 in value to the NACC when he entered the junta government in 2014.
The NACC, whose president once served as Prawit’s close aide, agreed to investigate the case but has so far avoided disclosing most of the details to the public.
Srisuwan asked the NACC to ask the Customs Department to provide information on the multi-million-baht watches regarding the payment of customs duties.