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Anti-graft panel being asked to probe official over alleged lottery payoff

By Thai Newsroom Reporters

THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON Corruption And Misconduct is being asked tomorrow (Apr.7) to look into allegations that a senior government official has unduly sought a 15-million-baht payoff over problematic allocations of government lottery tickets.

Mr. Somchai Srisutthiyakorn confirmed today he is petitioning the House Committee on Corruption and Misconduct chaired by Thai Liberal Party leader Seripisut Temiyavej to investigate the 15-million-baht kickback allegedly demanded by Seksakol Atthawong, assistant to the Prime Minister’s Office Minister, in relation to the government’s measures to contain the retail price of government lottery tickets nationwide.

Seksakol, a former MP of Nakhon Ratchasima, allegedly recently held talks at a restaurant with a woman official attached to the Office of the Prime Minister’s Office Minister about the alleged demand for the 15-million-baht payoff which he would allegedly use to finance his planned campaign to seek reelection in a northeastern constituency.

Seksakol was named head of a subcommittee under the government committee headed by Prime Minister’s Office Minister Anucha Nakhasai tasked with the handling of the allocations of government lottery tickets the retail price of which has been supposedly fixed at 80 baht each.

The alleged bribe money might possibly be provided by a major lottery distributor in exchange for a substantial quota of the allocated lottery tickets or legal loopholes which might be taken in sustained effort to distribute them for a retail price higher than 80 baht each.

Seksakol categorically dismissed the allegations saying he has been merely framed up by his political opponents and threatened to take legal action against those who may have produced or shared the video clip on his purported conversation.

The assistant to the Prime Minister’s Office Minister said he was “only joking” when he talked about the money with the woman official at the restaurant.

If found guilty as alleged, the accused government official could probably be banned from political activities for a number of years among other bribery-related corruption charges, Somchai said.

CAPTION:

Seksakol Atthawong, assistant to the Prime Minister’s Office Minister, top, and Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, Home Page. Both photos: Naewna


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