11 July 2024

Serial petitioner Srisuwan Janya, who is facing an extortion charge, is claiming that he is being set up because he might have “stepped on somebody’s toe” in his relentless crusade against corruption in government bureaucracy.

Srisuwan and two associates, Yotwarit Chuklom and Pimnattha Jiraputthipark, a former election candidate of United Thai Nation party, were charged with attempting to extort 1.5 million baht from Rice Department Director-General Natthakit Khongthip, in exchange for not exposing his alleged corruption related to the rice production cost reduction program.

All three suspects were released on 400,000-baht bail late last night.

After being questioned for about nine hours, following his arrest yesterday afternoon, Srisuwan denied that he had extorted money from Natthakit, as he explained to the media that he threw away the package, which his wife had found at the front gate of his house and found it to contain cash.

He admitted that he was shocked by the police raid on his house, but was not demoralised, because he has already been sued a number of times. “Walking in the rain will get you wet,” he said, adding that he might have stepped on somebody’s toe in the course of his efforts to expose corruption.

The serial petitioner said he is ready to defend himself in court and vowed to continue his anti-corruption crusade.

Yotwarit, a political aide to Deputy Prime Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, insisted on his innocence, clasiming that he had done nothing wrong.

Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, told the media late last night that Natthakit lodged a complaint with the NACC earlier this month, accusing Srisuwan and his two associates of demanding three million baht from him, but the amount was eventually bargained down to 1.5 million baht, with the first instalment of 50,000 baht already paid in December.