From todays Nation, further developments in a story New Mandala has been following for some time:
Prasong Soonsiri attacked Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont on Wednesday night, telling the premier that “your house is inside a national forest reserve.” He was speaking during the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) censure debate. Prasong displayed an aerial map that he claimed indicated that Surayud’s rural home at Khao Yai Thiang in Nakhon Ratchasima was in fact located inside a forest reserve. “This land is inside reserve forest, which is forbidden from being issued with a land document. Because of that, anyone who resides in the area must be considered a trespasser of public land and the penalty is imprisonment,” Prasong said during the censure debate of the Cabinet. Prasong went on to detail how the land had been acquired by Surayud. He claimed that a local villager had sold the plot to Noppadon Pitakwanich in 1995 for Bt700,000. Two years later, the land was resold to an Army officer for Bt50,000. It was later sold to Surayud’s wife, Khunying Chitravadee. Prasong said the discrepancy between the two amounts was most suspicious. He also cited a remark made last December, when Surayud claimed he would accept responsibility if he had done anything illegal.He urged the PM “to set a new standard” and accept responsibility for the ownership of the land, which Prasong believes is illegal and unethical for a prime minister. “If the prime minister can stay there, why should a number of villagers be arrested?” Prasong said, adding that several years ago a well-known monk called Phra Prajak was defrocked and prosecuted for setting up a monastery in a nearby area. He added that the prime minister should know full well that it is his duty to protect public property, instead of it belonging to him privately. Such ownership is also against Prime Minister’s Office regulations No 22, he said.