6 June 2024

A lawsuit has been filed against seven officials with the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases by former director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya.

Named in the lawsuit, filed on February 1st, are Pol Maj-Gen Jaroonkiat Pankaew, commander of the Counter Corruption Division, and Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn, director of Protected Areas Regional Office 9 based in Ubon Ratchathani province and five other officials.

They are accused by Rutchada of malfeasance in office, depriving him of freedom, presenting false evidence against him, intrusion into his office and criminal association.

In the lawsuit, Rutchada claimed that the seven men hatched a plot to lure him into taking bribes from his subordinates and recorded the event on video, which was distributed to the media in a way which damaged his reputation.

Rutchada was arrested at his office on December 27th by police from the Counter Corruption Division while he was in a meeting with some of his subordinates, including Chaiwat. About five million baht in cash was found in his office.

The former national park chief was “temporarily dismissed” from government service last week, with immediate effect, after initial findings showed there are grounds to support the bribe-taking allegations against him.