By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
Published on December 17, 2009
The Nation via CAAI News Media
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya yesterday denied ever instructing Kamrob Palawatwichai, then first secretary of the Thai Embassy in Cambodia, to spy on the flight of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Phnom Penh.
"Kamrob has performed his normal duty to process the extradition of convicted Thaksin in accordance with Thai judicial enforcement," Kasit said in a statement.
The procedure is the same treatment the ministry has to apply to every convicted fugitive who runs away from justice, he said. Finance wizard Rakesh Saxena was no different.
As Thaksin was confirmed as having arrived in Phnom Penh, the Thai Embassy had to report the information back to the ministry so the Attorney General's Office could be informed to commence seeking his return, he said.
The opposition Pheu Thai Party and Thai engineer Sivarak Chutipong, who was pardoned after being sentenced to seven years in jail for leaking Thaksin's flight schedule to Kamrob, have demanded Kamrob explain why he had to ask the engineer to share such information and who was behind him.
Thaksin said on Tuesday that Kamrob was assigned by his boss in Bangkok to seek his flight details and the diplomat reported back to Bangkok immediately upon obtaining the intelligence from Sivarak.
Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said earlier Kamrob would come out to relate his account soon.
However Kasit said it was not usual for the Foreign Ministry to have a civil servant explain to the public about such a normal function.
Sivarak and Kamrob are political victims as their cases were used a political tool, Kasit said.
Both of them have already suffered the consequences as Kamrob was expelled from Cambodia as a persona non grata while Sivarak had to serve a prison term, he said.
Kamrob had provided necessary assistance to Sivarak and expressed his regret for the incident, Kasit said, adding that the two have known each other for a long time.
However, Sivarak said he and his family had received no contact from Kamrob while he was facing legal difficulties in Cambodia.
Isorn Pokmontri, an ambassador attached to the Foreign Ministry, testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Kamrob did in fact ask Sivarak to confirm Thaksin's landing on November 10 but received no document on Thaksin's flight from the engineer.
Committee chairman Torpong Chaiyasarn had summoned Kasit and Kamrob to appear but Kasit assigned Isorn to represent both of them.