Thai army appoints new anti-corruption body
The army appointed an anti-corruption body in what appeared to be the groundwork for an assault on the assets of Thaksin.india Updated: Sep 22, 2006 17:29 IST
Thailand's new military rulers appointed a long-awaited anti-corruption body on Friday in what appeared to be the groundwork for an assault on the assets of ousted billionaire Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The National Counter Corruption Commission includes a graft-buster who led a probe of Thaksin in 2001 and eight current or retired senior civil servants, according to the army announcement.
Panthep Glanarongran, former head of a royal development foundation, was appointed chair of the commission, which has been empty since its last sitting members were fired en masse over a year ago for illegally awarding themselves a pay rise.
One commissioner said Thaksin would not be their sole target.
"They aim to curb corruption among civil servants and politicians urgently, but not specifically the previous cabinet ministers," supreme court judge Wicha Mahakhun told the agency.
The auditor-general has already speeded up existing investigations, including one into whether Thaksin's family were right to pay no tax on its 1.9 billion dollars sale of the firm he founded.
Thaksin, a former police colonel whose Shin Corp Grew into Thailand's biggest telecommunications group, has denied charges of corruption since street campaigners began throwing them at him late last year.
However, his family's tax-free sale of their controlling stake in the company to Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings in January infuriated Bangkok's middle classes and breathed life into the anti-Thaksin movement.
The army said it was forced into Tuesday's coup as there was no other way out of a political crisis that pitted Thaksin, winner of two landslide elections, against the old guard and campaigners who said he had twisted democratic institutions and become a dictator.