By Thai Newsroom Reporters
SEKSAKOL ATTHAWONG today (Apr. 18) resigned as assistant to the Prime Minister’s Office Minister amidst scandals pertaining to his alleged demand for a 15-million-baht payoff.
In a lengthy letter of resignation as assistant to the Prime Minister’s Office Minister, Seksakol says he has decided to call it quits effective from tomorrow to spare Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha from possible undue criticism with respect to the government’s efforts to combat the overpriced sales of government lottery tickets nationwide.
Prayut has earlier remained non-committal over the scandals surrounding Seksakol, repeatedly advising everything be subject to the rules of law.
Seksakol who has earlier headed a subcommittee under a government committee chaired by Prime Minister’s Office Minister Anucha Nakhasai against the overpriced sales of government lottery tickets has been heard in a sound clip calling for the 15 million baht kickback from purportedly underhanded dealings in government lottery tickets during his telephone talk with a woman official attached to the Prime Minister’s Secretary Office, namely Jureeporn Sinthuprai.
The former MP who was defeated under the tickets of Palang Pracharath Party in the 2019 election for an MP seat of Nakhon Ratchasima said he would need the money to fund his future electoral campaign. Each electoral candidate for MP is legally allowed to spend a maximum of 1.5 million baht in campaign finance.
But Seksakol has categorically dismissed the attempted bribery allegations and contended that he was “only joking” about it while he was talking on the telephone with the woman official.
Nevertheless, the House Committee on Corruption and Misconduct chaired by Thai Liberal Party leader Seripisut Temiyavej has already launched an investigation into scandals surrounding the former assistant to the Prime Minister’s Office Minister.
Seripisut earlier commented that the probe into such payoff scandals would be “very easy”, given readily available pieces of evidence, particularly including the sound clip which has quickly gone viral.
Seksakol has managed to set up Ruam Thai Sarng Chart Party with reported intent to name Prayut as the party’s sole candidate for head of a post-election government in case that Palang Pracharath Party, the largest coalition partner headed by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, finally chose to not do so as they did in the previous election.
Prayut has not as yet made a comment as to whether he may accept the planned nomination of him as candidate for prime minister by Seksakol’s party in the next race to parliament.
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra earlier remarked that the viral sharing of the sound clip alleging Seksakol’s attempted bribery was not a surprise since, he said, the former assistant to the Prime Minister’s Office Minister was viewed as a servant for Prayut whereas the woman official at Government House was known as a protege of Prawit.
According to the former premier, Prayut and Prawit would not trust each other so much, despite repeatedly flaunted efforts to mend fences, thus rendering misgivings between those who may work for one and those for the other.
Seksakol has apparently become a third politician who have been largely viewed as staunch defenders of Prayut and finally lost their political posts amidst scandals of wrongdoings.
The two others refer to a couple of former Palang Pracharath MPs, namely Sira Jenjaka and Pareena Kraikupt, who have been separately deprived by court orders of their MP status on grounds of having perpetrated severe misconduct.
Top: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, left, and senior official Seksakol Atthawong with the logo of the new Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party in the background. Photo: Matichon
Home Page: Some lottery tickets on sale. Photo: Thai Post