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  1. #1
    FarangRed
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    Phuket Corruption Claim Rejected by Governor's Wife

    By Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison
    Tuesday, September 28, 2010
    Today's Updating Report

    THE wife of the Governor of Phuket has strongly denied allegations of fraud while she was president of the Phuket Red Cross. Thaisika Praisa-ngob rejected the corruption claim last night at a media farewell.

    Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob and his wife kept an undertaking to attend a Phuket Media Club goodbye event and so were not able to attend a gala gathering on the other side of town to mark the British Queen's birthday.

    The evening was surreal because reporters chose to don masks representing Governor Wichai and Thaisaka and hold mock interviews - in much the same way as the Washington media entertains the US president once a year.

    The evening grew serious when Khun Thaisika took the microphone and spoke about the allegations that have surfaced recently in Thai media outlets. She said that the system at the Phuket Red Cross was a barrier against corruption. As wife of Phuket's governor, the role of president of the Phuket Red Cross was offered to her.

    The Red Cross holds one of the island's largest traditional annual fairs in Phuket City, with houses, and motorcycles as part of a fund-raising lottery. Khun Thaisika said that the Red Cross made about eight million baht from the lottery, which covered the cost of the 2.5 million baht house, 500,000 baht in motorcycles and about two million baht in other prizes.

    ''We made about three million baht,'' she said, ''And it all went to the Red Cross. The Phuket activities of the Red Cross are overseen by the local committee and the head office in Bangkok. The largest cheque I could sign is for 200,000 baht, and even then, it has to be approved by others.''

    Khun Thaisika said the Phuket Red Cross had a new building and new equipment that would help people when they needed blood or other forms of assistance across several Andaman provinces. She said that it may not be widely known that she is a senior manager at the Nakornluangthai Bank, with responsibilities that extend across the entire South of Thailand.

    ''Many of the leaders of the Phuket community are my customers - Pian Keesin, the mayor of Patong, Paiboon Upatising, the president of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation, and many of the owners of Phuket's leading hotels,'' she said. ''They know me. You can ask them whether I have ever asked for money under the table.

    ''If someone wants to ask some questions or make some allegations, they should come to see me face to face.''

    During the mock interview with the masked governor, the masked governor said said it would be ''not too loooong'' before the real governor's plan for a road through a stretch of mangroves close to Phuket City got the go-ahead.

    The fake governor, when asked whether he had a future in politics, brought laughter when he responded: ''Let me think. It will depend on whether the Democrats or the Pheu Thai Thai Party offer the most money.'' The real governor also had a good laugh.

    Governor Wichai and his wife leave the Phuket Governor's Mansion for the last time on Wednesday morning, heading for his home province of Nakhon Pathom, near Bangkok. His successor has yet to be announced - and it may be some time before Phuket learns the identity of its new governor.

    The man who makes the decision, the Permanent Secretary of the Interior Ministry, is also retiring . . . and his replacement, who has to authorise the change in governors, has yet to be announced. Political in-fighting means a decision may not come quickly.

    Phuket's three vice governors will remain in charge, with Vice Governor Tree Ackadecha as the senior man. Two of the vice governors are now qualified to the extent they could be appointed as provincial governors, on Phuket or elsewhere.

    While Governor Wichai and his wife farewelled Phuket's media at The Ba Le in Phuket City, more than 250 Thai and expat guests gathered at the Blue Elephant for a postponed Queen's birthday celebration, with British Ambassador Quinton Quayle as the host.

    The lavish evening, one of a series of celebrations in Thailand, was sponsored by business interests, not British taxpayers, the ambassador pointed out.

    Earlier, at a media conference at the Andara Resort in Kamala, Ambassador Quayle, who speaks fluent Thai, emphasised the good relationship between Britain and Thailand, and noted that trade was very much in Thailand's favor.

    He estimated the number of British expats living on Phuket at about 5000, and said the number of visitors from Britain arriving in Thailand each year was rising rapidly towards one million.

    On the controversial issue of whether expat Britons will be pursued to pay tax, the ambassador advised British citizens to seek expert advice. He said the embassy could not offer guidelines but would respond to individual requests.

    ''Everyone has responsibility for settling their own tax affairs,'' he said.

    http://phuketwan.com/tourism/phuket-...rs-wife-13024/

  2. #2
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