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05BANGKOK6240 UPDATE ON AUDITOR-GENERAL CONTROVERSY

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“41677”,”9/30/2005 3:44″,”05BANGKOK6240″,”Embassy Bangkok”,

 

“UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,”05BANGKOK5917″,

 

“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

 

The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

“,”UNCLAS BANGKOK 006240

 

SIPDIS

 

INFO ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

 

SENSITIVE

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, TH

SUBJECT: UPDATE ON AUDITOR-GENERAL CONTROVERSY

 

REF: BANGKOK 5917

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The embattled Senate President announced

on Friday, September 23rd that the nominee for the position

of Auditor-General, Mr. Wisut Montriwat, had withdrawn his

nomination for the position. The King, who stood silent

rather than endorse the nomination, accepted the withdrawal.

This breaks the stalemate that has existed between a small

group of Senators perceived as loyal to the Thai Rak Thai

(TRT) and supporters of the current Auditor-General, Khunying

Jaruwan Maintaka. It is unlikely that the fight will end

anytime soon. END SUMMARY.

 

ONE STALEMATE IS BROKEN . . .

 

2. (SBU) The Senate,s unexpected nomination of a new

Auditor-General became a lightning rod of controversy for the

Thai Rak Thai, and most notably for Senate Speaker Suchon

Chaleekrua (reftel). The Thai public has shown an unusual

amount of anger towards the Senate because the move to

replace the current Auditor-General without the King,s

endorsement has been seen as a challenge to the King,s

authority. Although the King saves his direct involvement in

political affairs for the most serious of issues, his silence

on a proposal or a nominee almost always indicates his

disapproval, and that he wants the parties to resolve it on

their own. As more time continued to pass after this

nomination was submitted to the King, the more it came to be

seen as challenging the King to do something*not something

customarily done in Thailand. By withdrawing the nomination,

any perceived pressure for the King to make a statement on

the matter*and thus any offense against the King*has ended.

The King accepted the withdrawal for consideration to the

post, but did not say anything more about the fate of the

current Auditor-General, Jaruwan.

 

. . . WHILE ANOTHER LOOMS LARGE

 

3. (SBU) The withdrawal breaks the stalemate but does

not solve the ultimate problem: who is the rightful

Auditor-General of Thailand? Under the law, the ball is back

in the hands of the Auditor-Committee of the Senate. Each of

the many options has a drawback. It might be easiest to

allow the current Auditor-General to serve until the end of

her term, but that does not solve the constitutional question

(her appointment may have been improperly done) or the

political question (she is perceived as a scrupulous official

who may embarrass Thai Rak Thai by uncovering and publicizing

corruption.) Any option that involves sending a new name to

the King risks the repeating the cycle just completed ) a

nomination met by a stony and accusatory silence.

 

WHAT,S NEXT?

 

4. (SBU) The Auditor-General committee announced on

Tuesday, September 27th, that they will take 10 days to study

the situation more thoroughly before announcing what action

they will take. This announcement comes as an unexpected

change that reflects growing rifts between members of the

committee. Prior to this issue turning into a controversy,

the members were all firmly united in their demand that

Jaruwan had to step down. However, the committee has taken

special note of the public outrage over the attempt to

replace Jaruwan, as she is seen as someone whose untimely

replacement was caused by her doing her job a little too

well. In the interim, the Senate has announced that they

will meet on Monday, October 3rd to discuss the issue. For

now, Jaruwan is still the Auditor-General but remains on the

sidelines, and there are continued calls for Senate Speaker

Suchon to resign for mishandling the issue from the beginning.

 

5. (SBU) Comment. The crisis has subsided for now, but it

is not resolved. Although the controversy slightly

embarrassed the TRT, the party has also benefited–Jaruwan

remains, for now, effectively sidelined from doing her job.

No matter what the Auditor-General Committee decides, it will

be some time before a fully-functioning Auditor-General is in

operation, allowing Thailand,s many issues involving

corruption to remain unaddressed. End Comment.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

June 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Thaksin, Unclassified

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