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Court dismisses charges filed against officials by former national parks chief

PHOTO: Facebook/Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya

Charges brought against 7 officials by disgraced former national parks chief Rutchada Suriyakul na Ayutya have been dismissed by Thailand’s Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases. Thai PBS World reports that Rutchada had filed the charges following a raid on his office because he was accused of demanding bribes from employees.

On December 27, 2022, Rutchada was arrested at his office while in a meeting with subordinates. He was “temporarily dismissed” pending trial, following findings that appear to support the bribe-taking allegations against him.

He subsequently filed a lawsuit against 7 officials involved in the raid on his office, including the director of Protected Areas Region Office 9, Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn, one of the people he was meeting with when his office was raided. Also named in the lawsuit was Jaroonkiat Pankaew, commander of the police’s Counter Corruption Division.

In the suit, Rutchada accused the officials of malfeasance in office, using false evidence against him, depriving him of his freedom, criminal association, and intrusion into his office.

The former national parks boss claimed officials had concocted a plot to trap him into taking bribes from his subordinates, while secretly filming. He claims the plan was to then distribute the footage to the media in order to damage his reputation.

Seems he’s doing a pretty good job of that himself…

The court has dismissed Rutchada’s claims, finding that the 7 officials were carrying out their duty in a lawful manner when they conducted the raid last December. During the raid, police found around 5 million baht in cash in Rutchada’s office.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Rutchada have issued a statement to say their client will examine the court’s verdict before deciding if he will lodge an appeal within 30 days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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