Opposition says Thammanat should not have been appointed minister

PHOTO: Bangkok Post

“It is old stuff from the opposing political group. I know all of them. Don’t pay any attention to them. I do not give them any importance.”

A government opposition spokesman, Adisorn Piangkate, says he would not have appointed Captain Thammanat Prompow as deputy agriculture minister if he were the PM due to the minister’s “tainted record”. He made the remark in reference to a Sydney Morning Herald report yesterday detailing Thammanat’s drug convictions in Australia in 1993.

The SMH published an investigative report “From sinister to minister: politician’s drug trafficking jail time revealed” about Thammanat’s role in a 3.2 kg heroin smuggling case that landed him in a Sydney prison in 1993 for four years.

The SMH report shows Thammanat, who went by the name of 2nd Lt Manat Bophlom at the time, was among key members of the drug trafficking gang, citing court files detailing police reports. Some of the evidence had been obtained using listening devices installed in a Sydney hotel room where the gang members met.

According to the SMH report, Thammanat was sentenced to six years in prison without the possibility of parole for four years.

Adisorn said Thammanat is the only person who knows the full details about the drug conviction and urged him to issue a clarification.

Thammarat, however, bluntly dismissed the SMH report as an attempt by his political opponents to dig up his past in order to discredit him.

“It is old stuff from the opposing political group – those Avatars – I know all of them. Don’t pay any attention to them. I do not give them any importance,” he told the media.

The deputy agriculture minister is known as the government’s “fixer” who is tasked with sorting out the smaller parties in the coalition government to make sure they tow the government line. The government coalition is made up of 19 parties and has a razor-thin majority in parliament.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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