NACC chairman pulls out of probe into Gen Prawit’s pricey watch

  • In this photograph taken on December 4, 2017, Thailand’s junta number two Prawit Wongsuwan covers his eyes, displaying a watch he is wearing, during a photo call with other members of a new cabinet in Bangkok. Thailand’s junta number two has been snapped with 25 different luxury watches worth 1.2 million USD since a 2014 coup, social media sleuths said on January 17, 2018, a day after the ex-general vowed to resign if a graft panel finds him guilty of wrongdoing. / AFP PHOTO / Krit PHROMSAKLA NA SAKOLNAKORN

National Anti-Corruption Commission  (NACC) chairman Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit has announced his intention to withdraw from a panel considering Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon’s luxury wristwatches scandal.

NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon disclosed today (Jan 24) that NACC chairman Pol Gen Watcharapol told the NACC meeting yesterday that he would not take part in making decision on the case once the investigation file is completed and submitted to the NACC board for ruling.

The chairman said his withdrawal from the case would stop expected criticism over the transparency of the ruling, Mr Worawit said.

Critics have raised question over Pol Gen Watcharapol’s role in the investigation into the wristwatches as he was close to Gen Prawit. Pol Gen Watcharapol used to serve as deputy secretary-general of the Office of the Prime Minister in 2014.

Pol Gen Watcharapol, NACC chairman

Regarding progress of the probe, Mr Worawit said Gen Prawit had submitted clarifications on the origin of the wristwatches which he did not declare to the NACC before taking the ministerial post.

However, as the number luxury wristwatches appeared in the social media has increased to 25 items, the NACC had asked Gen Prawit to submit addition clarification on the watches for the third time, Mr Worawit said.

He added that investigators had questioned all persons mentioned by the deputy prime minister as the ones who involved with the wristwatches he wore, except one last key witness, who would be questioned by the investigators next week.

Mr Worawit said the the NACC also sent notifications to 13 watch agents in the country to submit information relevant to the luxury wristwatches.

He expected the probe into the case would be completed next month and forward to the board for ruling.