The Public Prosecutors Commission on Friday announced a decision to discharge Chainarong Saengthong-aram, a former senior prosecutor at the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), from service.
He was accused of tampering with car speed evidence in the hit-and-run case involving Red Bull energy drink scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya.
An initial report showed Mr Vorayuth had driven his Ferrari at 177 kilometres per hour when he was allegedly involved in an accident that killed a policeman in Bangkok in 2012. However, the speed was later reduced to an estimation below 80kph. Based on this lower speed, Nate Naksuk, the former director-general of the OAG, in 2020 dropped a charge of reckless driving causing death against Mr Vorayuth.
The commission launched a disciplinary probe into the speed discrepancy and confirmed there were grounds to the allegations of tampering and that the speed of the car driven by Mr Vorayuth was changed in the investigative report.
Vorayuth Yoovidhya (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Mr Chainarong had reportedly already tendered his resignation. The probe panel recommended sacking him with the highest penalty because of the severity of the offence.
However, the commission decided Mr Chainarong’s offence was not harsh enough and submitted the matter to the OAG for consideration.
As a result, Attorney-General Naree Tantasathien also disagreed with the panel and suggested reducing his punishment from being dismissed to being told to leave his post instead, due to his good work record prior to the offence.
This means Mr Chainarong can still receive a pension.
In May, Public Prosecutors Commission Chairman Patchara Yutithamdamrong said a meeting concluded that Mr Nate had handled the case with gross negligence, severely damaging the OAG’s reputation and authority under Sections 85 and 87 of the Civil Service Act 2010.
The meeting agreed that Mr Nate deserved the harshest penalty of being dismissed. But they later decided to reduce the penalty to allow him to keep his pension as he had not committed any other wrongdoing during his 40 years of service.
That marked the end of the commission’s probe into Mr Nate.