11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will directly supervise the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) instead of assigning one of his deputies to do it on his behalf, as was the practice in the past, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said today.

By supervising the DSI, he explained that the Prime Minister will oversee the handling of criminal cases by DSI officials which, he said, will enable the DSI to perform its duties more efficiently, faster and with better coordination from other agencies.

The Prime Minister, who doubles as the defence minister, also supervises the Royal Thai Police, with more than 230,000 law enforcement officers scattered throughout the country.

DSI director-general, Pol. Col. Paisit Wongmuang, meanwhile, said that the DSI will call a meeting with the governor of Pathum Thani province, the public prosecutors and the National Office of Buddhism on August 2nd for a discussion about the management of Wat Dhammakaya and to follow up progress in the case of significant fraud in Klongchan Credit Union Cooperatives, allegedly committed by its former top management.

A large amount of the fund, allegedly embezzled from the cooperatives, was found to have been transferred to Wat Dhammakaya, its foundation and its former abbot Phra Dhammachayo, who has gone missing and is believed to have fled the country after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Pol. Col. Paisit and the justice minister ordered the DSI to speed up its probe into the case because many depositors have been affected as their hard-earned deposits had been stolen.

Commenting on the policy to liberalize the use of cannabis or cannabis extracts for medical purposes, Minister Somsak warned that, unless permission is granted by authorities, the use of such products, even for medical purposes, is against the law.

He said that laws and regulations related to cannabis need to be promulgated before people can start using the weed or its products or start cultivating cannabis.

The Bhumjaithai party, one of the coalition parties, has championed the legalization of cannabis and its products for medical purposes.