Claims malfeance in foreign labour bribery implication
PUBLISHED : 24 Jan 2024 at 13:24
Former labour minister Suchart Chomklin has taken the Department of Special Investigation to court for alleged malfeasance by implying he took 36 million baht in bribes from Thai workers destined for Finland.
Speaking at the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases in Bangkok on Wednesday, Mr Suchart said he filed malfeasance, persecution and related charges against a former director-general of the DSI, an acting director-general and a human-trafficking cases director.
He was taking legal action to defend himself from the DSI’s recent announcement that it would soon file charges against two former ministers and two high-level officials at the Ministry of Labour for allegedly demanding 36 million baht in exchange for approving the sending of Thai workers to Finland.
The DSI alleged a group of politicians, civil servants and civilians demanded that a Thai job broker pay an average of 3,000 baht for each worker destined to harvest wild berries in the nordic country.
The broker in turn passed the special requirement on to about 12,000 Thai workers sent to Finland from 2020 to 2023. They had to find and pay up about 36 million baht in total, in addition to their other costs.
On Wednesday Mr Suchart said although the DSI did not name a suspect, it damaged his reputation and his family’s name because it mentioned the period of his tenure as minister, and this implied his involvement.
Mr Suchart said the DSI’s recent announcement was politically motivated. The DSI had filed the case with the National Anti-Corruption Commission in late October last year, but did not make the announcement until this month. Moreover, he had not received a summons to submit a statement in his defence on any charge.
He said there was a bribery allegation in 2020. It concerned only business operators, and an investigation did not find any irregularities.
Mr Suchart served as minister of labour in the second cabinet of then-prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha from August 2020 to September 2023. He is a deputy leader of United Thai Nation, one of the parties in the current governing coalition.