6 June 2024

Seri Ruam Thai party leader Gen Seripisut Temiyavet claimed today that he was the source who tipped off the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in Australia to investigate the details surrounding the conviction, in a narcotics case, of Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao.

The former police chief today assigned an MP from his party, Pol Lt-Gen Wissanu Muangpraesee, to submit an interpellation to the House Speaker, demanding an explanation from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha about the appointment of Thammanat as a member of his cabinet, despite the latter’s criminal background in Australia.

He said that people involved in narcotics trafficking are not good people and he could not understand how Thammanat was given a cabinet post, despite the fact that he had spent time in prison in Australia following conviction on drug charges.

The Seri Ruam Thai party leader said that he was not afraid that he might be sued for providing information to the Australian media. Even though Thammanat’s case in Australia was many years ago, Seripisut said he doubted the former was qualified to be an MP.

Answering an interpellation of the Seri Ruam Thai party in the House about his drug conviction in Australia several decades ago, Thammanat said that he welcomed the opportunity to talk about his past so that it will not return to haunt him and undermine his resolve to pay back to society.

Thammanat, well known for his role as the government’s fixer, claimed that he was never jailed for drug charges in Australia, but was detained for about eight months during the plea bargaining process.

He said he was sent to a farm to look after young hooligans who were detained there for about six months and then sent back to Sydney where he worked for about four years.  

The deputy agriculture minister further added that, after four years, he didn’t want to return to Thailand, but wanted to spend more time there with his family. However, he decided to return home as a free man, without a past record of drug dealing, as claimed by the SMH newspaper.

After his clarification in the House today, Thammanat said he hoped his nightmare of the past 30 years would be over adding, however, that he was willing to clarify in private if anyone still has doubts about his past.