Anti-graft panel members insist the bomb attack on the old house of their colleague has no bearing on their work.
Member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, or NAAC, Somluck Jadkrabuanpol, revealed the panel’s chairman Parnthep Klanarongran ปานเทพ กล้าณรงค์ราน has advised every commissioner to be more alert after the bomb attack on the house formerly owned by their colleague Wicha Mahakhun this morning.
Somluck, however, stated she is not worried about the matter and she has never been threatened before. She affirmed the event will not affect her panel’s work.
Another NACC member, Jaided Pornchaiya, said he is not nervous after the incident and he sees no need to ask for extra police protection.
He also denied the accusation by a group of former police officers over what they claim is the NACC’s unfair ruling against the police chief and the former metropolitan police chief for their role in last year’s crackdown on the rally led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy, or PAD.
Jaided insisted his panel treated all parties fairly and its verdict was made without any bias.
NACC spokesperson Klanarong Janthik said his panel’s chairman and the government will decide if police officers should be assigned to protect its members
Klanarong said the police will find out whether the attack on Wicha’s old house was motivated by the ruling on the October 7 crackdown but insisted the incident will have no bearing on the performance of the anti-graft panel.
Another NACC member Wichai Wiwit-sewee said there is no need to request extra police presence to oversee the safety of the commissioners. He said he is not sure if the bombing incident stemmed from the October 7 ruling.
Wichai also said he is not worried about the move by Police Chief, Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwan to file charges with the Criminal Court against his panel for what he claims is its unlawful resolution on the October 7 crackdown.
Wichai said he is ready to accept the court’s ruling and insisted his panel performs its duties neutrally.
He also cited the Administrative Court will decide on the legality of the order by Police General Patcharawat on the appointment of Assistant to the Police Chief, Police Lieutenant General Somyos Pumpanmuang to oversee the cases involving the PAD’s forced closure of Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airports.
Security measures at the NACC office have been stepped up and all vehicles entering its compound are being thoroughly examined.
Meanwhile, red-shirt lawyer Karom Polthaklang คารม พลทะกลาง filed a complaint with the NACC seeking an investigation into Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Supreme Commander General Songkitti Jaggabatra for issuing the order to disband the group’s rally in April.
Security tightened for NACC members
Security was increased for all nine members of the national anti-graft agency yesterday after a hand grenade was thrown into the former home of a panel member.
National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) president Panthep Klanarongran requested additional police protection for NACC commissioners and more frequent police patrols at their houses after the grenade exploded at Vicha Mahakun’s old home in Bang Phlat district.
The incident happened around 3.30am and caused some damage to the property, which Vicha had sold to a university lecturer in July. There were no injuries as the house was under renovation and nobody was living inside at the time of explosion. Window panes of a nearby house were shattered.
Security measures were also tightened at the NACC office building yesterday. Vehicles entering the premises were searched for bombs.
Reacting to the incident, Vicha said that he was not discouraged by the incident as he had received several threats while working in the NACC.
He said his neighbours gave him warnings after suspicious strangers were spotted near the house many times recently. “I am thankful to my neighbours. In fact I sold that house in July and it is now being renovated,” he said.
Vicha declined to speculate whether the attack had something to do with the NACC’s recent decision to indict former government leaders and senior police officers involved in the October 7 police crackdown on protesters last year.
“That should be the duty of officials responsible for investigation,” he said.
Other NACC members vowed that threats would not sway their judgement in future cases.
Somlak Judkrabuanphol said she was “startled” by the bomb explosion at Vicha’s former home and that NACC president Panthep had told all the agency’s members to be more cautious about their safety.
“I have not received any threat and I have no worry about such a threat. The incident won’t affect the NACC’s work in future cases. We will continue to adhere to the laws and regulations and make decisions in a just manner,” she said.
Jaided Pornchaiya, another NACC member, said he had never received any threat and he would not request for more police protection.
In a related development, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said that after the explosion, he had ordered police to provide more security at residences of important figures, such as members of independent organisations and the Privy Council.
He said initial police investigation found that the grenade was thrown from a passing pickup truck.
By The Nation
Published on September 12, 2009