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Key Thai officials shown the door as junta implements reshuffle

Publication Date : 29-06-2014


Several key Thai public officials aligned with ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have been removed from their offices and transferred to inactive posts as the ruling National Council for Peace and Order undertakes a reshuffle in the bureaucracy.

General Nipat Thonglek, who had pledged full allegiance to the former prime minister, has been removed from the Defence Ministry permanent secretary post and is now chief adviser to the Defence Ministry. He has been replaced by General Surasak Kanjanarat.

Athapol Yaisawang has been removed from the attorney-general's post.

Also gone is Tarit Pengdith, the director-general of the Department of Special Investigation who pledged his allegiance to Yingluck and vowed to take legal action against those responsible for the political crackdown in 2010 under the Abhisit Vejjajiva government.

The changes were contained in orders 77-79 issued by the NCPO on Friday night. The reshuffle took effect on Friday and His Majesty the King will endorse the new officials after a new government is formed.

Nine officials have been appointed advisers to the PM's Office including Tarit, former PM's Office permanent secretary Tongthong Chandransu, former permanent secretary for Information and Communications Technology Surachai Srisaracam, former secretary-general of the Southern Border Provincial Administrative Centre Pol Colonel Thawee Sodsong and former House of Representatives secretary-general Suwichag Nakwatcharachai.

The reshuffle also involved economic ministries.

Srirat Rastapana has been removed as Commerce Ministry permanent secretary and made an adviser to the PM's Office.

Srirat is replaced by Chutima Bunyaprapasara, the inspector-general at the ministry.

Chutima, who is well-versed on international trade negotiation, was involved in the Abhisit government's controversial measures to solve rising egg prices.

She was director-general of trade negotiations, foreign trade and internal trade before being sidelined when Yingluck came to power.

Suthep Liumsirijarern, the recently appointed Energy Ministry permanent secretary, is now an adviser at the PM's Office while Areepong Bhoocha-oom has been shifted from secretary of the Public Sector Department Commission to replace Suthep.

When Yingluck was in power, Areepong was replaced as Finance Ministry permanent secretary because he was deemed unable to handle the post-audit committee for the debt-ridden rice-pledging scheme.

Supa Piyajitti, a new member of National Anti-Corruption Commission, was the Finance Ministry's deputy secretary at that time and Areepong made her chairman of the committee.

Also, Rakop Srisupa-at has been removed as Customs Department director-general and named Finance Ministry inspector-general.

He is reportedly connected to former Thaksin administration minister Suwat Liptapanlop.

The Office of Fiscal Policy director, Somchai Sujjapongse, is the new director-general of Customs Department. He reportedly has close ties with Newin Chidchob, the de facto leader of the Bhum Jai Thai Party.

Somchai, meanwhile, attended the same class as junta chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha at the National Defence College.


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