Four people to be quizzed by Thai anti-graft agency in deputy PM Prawit luxury watch saga


Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, displaying a watch he is wearing, during a photo call with other members of a new cabinet in Bangkok on Dec 4, 2017.
Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, displaying a watch he is wearing, during a photo call with other members of a new cabinet in Bangkok on Dec 4, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK - Four people will be questioned by Thailand's anti-graft agency over their links to the scandal involving luxury watches worn by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, Thai media reported on Friday (Jan 19).

The National Anti-Corruption Commission's (NACC) President Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said on Thursday a date had been set for the four unnamed individuals to be questioned, but declined to give further details, the Bangkok Post reported.

The NACC has said it is seeking further details about Gen Prawit's possession of the watches and his relationships with the four individuals.

Watcharapol, who was a former close aide to Gen Prawit, said the agency's Bureau of Asset Inspection would be conducting its investigations before submitting its findings to the NACC's main panel, the Bangkok Post reported.

Gen Prawit on Tuesday pledged to resign if found guilty. The general also said he had borrowed the watches from friends and had returned them all, The Nation reported.

Critics, including supporters of the junta, however, have called on Gen Prawit to step down or take a leave of absence as more details about the luxury watches he has worn are appearing in social media.

 

Graft-buster and former senator Rosana Tositrakul on Monday took to Facebook to urge a full inquiry by the authorities into Gen Prawit's income and tax payments in regard to the "watchgate" scandal.

She has also called on Gen Prayut to apply the same standards as when he removed government officials suspected to be involved with corruption to pave the way for investigations.

The scandal came to light after Gen Prawit was seen wearing a very expensive Richard Mille watch during a photo session with the new Cabinet.

Netizens, including the Facebook page CSI LA, have also reviewed media photos of Gen Prawit. As of Wednesday, the page estimated that he had worn 25 luxury watches.

The total price, based on market value, stands estimated at more than 30 million baht (S$1.2 million) - far higher than Gen Prawit's estimated income during his past three years in office.