11 July 2024

Thailand’s Office of the Attorney-General explained today that it did not fail to perform its duty, by not indicting real estate developer Sakulthorn Juangroongruangkit on bribery charges.

In November last year, the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases sentenced two officials of the Crown Property Bureau (CPB), Prasit Paipholcharn and Surakit Tangwitwanich, to six years in prison after finding them guilty of accepting a 20 million baht bribe from Sakulthorn, CEO of Real Estate Development Company.

Sakulthorn is the younger brother of Thanathorn, leader of the Progressive Movement.

The two men falsified a CPB document to dupe Sakulthorn into believing that they could arrange for his real estate firm to win a deal to develop a large plot of prime land in the Ploenchit commercial district, currently occupied by the Telephone Organization of Thailand, without going through an open bidding process.

In a press conference this morning, the OAG’s team of spokespersons said that suspicion that the OAG deliberately decided not to pursue bribery charges against Sakulthorn over the land deal is unfounded.

They explained that the police filed charges against only the two CPB officials and did not include Sakulthorn as one of the suspects, adding that the authority to investigate whether Sakulthorn was involved rests with the police in charge of the case.

“Police are independent in the investigation of their case, just as the prosecutors are independent. We do not poke our noses in and make inquiries. We do not do that,” said Charnchai Chalanonniwat, the OAG’s deputy spokesman.

Regarding the court verdict, which implies that Sakulthorn who, albeit, was initially duped into paying the 20 million baht for the land deal, later knew he could close the deal without going through the normal open bidding process, Charnchai said that the police should be well aware of the verdict and could follow it up themselves.