Pattaya Daily News

22 January 2010 :: 09:01:27 am 9810

Forestry Dept: Surayud Must Return Khao Yai Land

Privy Councillor Surayud Chulanont must return national forest lands to the government, the Royal Forest Department has ruled.
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Bangkok, the 21st of January 2010 [TNA]: The state forestry agency concluded its findings that Privy Councillor Gen Surayud has no right to ownership of a plot of land at Khao Yai Thiang and must return it to the state. A department’s sub-committee met Wednesday to rule on the case of alleged encroachment on the Khao Yai Thiang forest reserve in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Chaired by Director-General Somchai Piensathaporn the panel concluded that Gen Surayud has no right to land ownership at the site, as it was allocated to landless farmers and cannot be sold according to a 1975 Cabinet resolution. Ownership of the land can only be passed on to heirs. Mr Somchai will give the committee’s finding to Suwit Khunkitti at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, who will officially inform Gen Surayud to vacate the land and remove all construction and buildings within 30 days of the order being issued. Gen Surayud can appeal within 15 days.

The attorney-general’s office earlier said it would not proceed with legal action against Gen Surayud as he had purchased the land legally and it had twice changed ownership before he acquired it.

Meanwhile, Surayud-aide Gen Surarit Jantrathip on Wednesday denied being a ‘nominee’ for the privy councilor to buy land at Khao Yai Thiang, saying only that he had transferred the land to Gen Surayud’s wife to ‘repay a kindness.’ The aide told a news conference that he bought the controversial tract of land from Noppadon Pithakwanich when he encountered financial problem in the 1997 economic crisis and asked the Surayu-aide to help him by buying the land.

Gen Surarit, then director of TV Channel 5, said that some five years later he gave the land to Privy Councillor Surayud’s wife, but declined to specify how much he had paid for the land. Gen Surayud previously said he is willing to return the land to the state if he received a ruling from the Royal Forest Department that he must relinquish it. (TNA)

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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