Good officials and corrupt politicians are like water and oil, they do not mix and will never mix. In this country, the sad truth is that the good guys always lose out to the bad guys whenever they are at loggerheads and it is their heads that roll. The opposite should be the case.
Hence, it is not surprising at all that Pol Col Dusadee Arayawuthi will probably lose his job at the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission. Justice Minister Pracha Promnok is on Tuesday expected to seek the cabinet’s endorsement for his recommendation to that the PSACC secretary-general be removed, shunted to the Justice Ministry to become a deputy permanent secretary.
Pol Col Dusadee has already told the press that he was summoned to see Justice Minister Pracha during the weekend and was told of his transfer, supposedly to help out in the drug suppression effort. He said he asked the minister why he was to be dumped from the anti-graft agency and was told that some “phuyai” wanted him to assist in the campaign against illicit drugs.
From a powerful job as a graft buster to be a deputy permanent secretary to assist in a drugs crackdown is definitely not a fitting reward for a job well done and appreciated. It is, in fact, a demotion and the drug suppression assignment is just a smoke screen to justify the off-season transfer.
What actually prompted Pol Col Dusadee’s abrupt transfer? Do not expect Justice Minister Pracha to tell the truth or to expose the identity of the “phuyai” who wanted the officer out of the way. Nor can we expect the police officer to spill the beans either, because he appears to be too polite to hurt or discredit any of his superiors.
But the rumour mills are busy churning out tales, which are yet to be verified, that the police officer might have stepped on the toes of “somebody” in the government or “somebody” who has close connections with the government, or both, in the course of his zealous efforts to root out corruption in the government bureaucracy.
Here is a partial list of some of the corruption allegations the PSACC has been investigating which may provide a clue about his abrupt transfer. They include a tax evasion case involving a "grey" car importer who brought in hundreds of luxury cars and under-declared their actual prices to avoid paying high import taxes; land encroachment in a national park on Koh Chang, Trat province, and in Chiang Rai by influential figures and local politicians; and suspected widespread corruption in the implementation of flood relief and prevention projects.
Last weekend, Pol Col Dusadee told the press that he had ordered his men to investigate “unusual” expenditure of budgets for 595 flood relief and flood prevention projects in Zone 4, which covers six northeastern provinces -- Loei, Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Bung Karn, Khon Kaen and Chaiyaphum. He disclosed that random checks revealed irregularities in all the projects his investigators had looked into.
Keep in mind that the six northeastern provinces are all considered the political turf of the ruling Pheu Thai Party. So, it is very possible that Pol Col Dusadee stepped on the toes of quite a few people there.As for the suspected tax evasion on imported luxury cars, he cited a case in which the prices of a popular British and German-made car were declared in US dollars on the invoices, instead of in British pounds.
In the Chiang Rai land encroachment case, he said several politicians had illegally acquired 19 plots of land in Doi Pa Sang and had used the false title deeds to secure about 100 million baht in loans from the state-run Krung Thai bank -- and the loans eventually went bad. Again, in this case, the police colonel might have stepped on the toes of “somebody”.
He told the media that his transfer was not politically motivated. But I doubt it.
If it was not politically motivated, why the hasty transfer now as most of the cases he was handling are still only half-completed? And why the drug suppression assignment? Surely, that task is already in the good hands of Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung. After all, the war on drugs has been loudly touted as one of the government's most successful achievements.
Of course, the justice minister can move any of the ministry's officials around, as he thinks fit or wishes. But the cabinet should exercise caution and put a brake on Pol Col Dusadee’s transfer, because it could well send a wrong message to all honest and hard-working officials, as well as the public in general, that this government does not appreciate a no-nonsense graft buster and it is not at all serious about stamping out corruption.Or is that the message it really does want to send?