Ex-MP Vatana to return to Samut Prakan after 15 years on the run

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Former Samut Prakan MP and Deputy Interior Minister Vatana Asavahame has announced his intention to return to Samut Prakan in two months to visit locals after evading corruption charges for 15 years.

A housewarming ceremony took place yesterday at the new residence of Soontorn Pansangtong, the former deputy minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the former deputy chief of Samut Prakan Provincial Administrative Organisation (PAO), located in Bang Pla Subdistrict, Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan. The event was attended by Akarawat Asavahame, a former Samut Prakan MP and Vatana’s nephew, along with several other provincial government officials.

Vatana called Soontorn during the ceremony to offer congratulations on the new house. He also disclosed plans to endorse Soontorn in the upcoming election for the chief executive of Samut Prakan’s PAO upon his return to the province.

The Supreme Court charged 87 year old Vatana in 2008 with abuse of power related to the Klong Dan wastewater treatment scandal, sentencing him to 10 years in prison, reported Bangkok Post.

Vatana has been on the run since 2009 to avoid the sentence.

In related news, Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) concluded investigations into two cases involving the corrupt former Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), resulting in significant asset seizures totalling over 44 million baht. In the initial case, the court ordered the forfeiture of the former DSI’s Director-General Tharit Pengdit’s assets worth 341.80 million baht to the state.

A subsequent ruling on March 19, a continuation of the initial court ruling, saw an additional 44.63 million baht in assets seized, bringing the combined total to more than 386 million baht.

In other news, a senior Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) official has been arrested for allegedly accepting a 9 million baht bribe to alter road construction plans to avoid a golf course, seizing luxury cars and Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the process. The operation aimed to arrest a network of BMA officials implicated in a bribery scheme involving the alteration of road plans to benefit Windsor Park and Golf Club.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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