Thailand’s national park chief to face disciplinary probe in bribery scandal

Another panel will be set up to consider disciplinary action against Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya, director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, who is currently facing bribery charges.


Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa told the media today (Wednesday) that the fact-finding investigation, undertaken by the ministry, is almost completed and there are sufficient grounds to launch a disciplinary probe.


He said that he has instructed the permanent secretary to proceed.


The minister also warned that any individual or organisation which states or even implies that he was involved in the bribery scam will be sued for defamation.


Meanwhile, Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn, chief of the Ubon Ratchathani-based 9th Conservation Management Area, was summoned to make a formal statement to investigators of the Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) today, regarding the bribery charges against Rutchada.


Whistle blower and former chief of Kaeng Krachan National Park, Chaiwat informed the ACD and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PAAC) about Rutchada’s alleged misconduct, claiming that he demanded bribes from his subordinates for transfers and promotions.


Chaiwat reportedly met Rutchada twice, to ask him to stop the alleged malpractice, but ending up with a bribe being demanded. A sting operation was set up by the ACD and PACC to ensnare Rutchada on the day Chaiwat was to hand a bribe payment in an envelope to Rutchada at his office on December 27th.


Five million baht in cash, including Chaiwat’s envelope containing cash, were found in the office during the raid.


Rutchada was temporarily moved to work at the Prime Minister’s Office after his arrest on December 27th, pending the outcome of the investigation by the ACD and PACC.


Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service