Senior Thai palace official to face court after sacking

Senior Thai palace official to face court after sacking
PHOTO: The Nation

Crime Suppression Division police will tomorrow interrogate the senior palace official dismissed on Monday following allegations of encroachment on forest land, a source said yesterday.

Police General Jumpol Manmai was sacked as Grand Chamberlain in charge of security and special affairs by the Royal Household Bureau. He will be taken to police for questioning and then to Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Court for further processing later on Thursday, according to a Department of Special Investigation source.

A former deputy police commissioner, Jumpol was a leading candidate to become the National Police chief a year before his mandatory retirement in 2010.

In dismissing him as Grand Chamberlain, the Royal Household Bureau said Jumpol had committed grave misconduct and "political interests that threatened national security" - a reason rarely used to fire a palace official.

"He has wrongly used his official position for personal gains. He had political interests that were detrimental to national security and not trusted by the King," said the order countersigned by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. AFP reported that he was a senior advisor to the new monarch, King Maha Vajralongkorn who ascended the throne after his widely revered father King Bhumibol Adulyadej died.

Jumpol, 66, served as intelligence chief under the Thaksin Shinawatra administration. He was also Thaksin's classmate while studying at the Royal Police Cadet Academy.

The Royal Household Bureau order, dated February 27, had immediate effect.

Jumpol may appeal to the agency's civil service committee within 30 days, according to the order.

Earlier this month, Jumpol, along with two others, was charged with encroaching on Thap Lan National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima's Wang Nam Khiew district.

On February 6, authorities raided land in the district found to be located inside the national park. Six houses have been built on the land, said to belong to Jumpol.

Later, a police complaint was filed against Jumpol and the two others - identified as Pol Maj-General Pongdej Prommijitr and Chayanit Pisitwanit - for illegally occupying forestland, clearing forests without permission, and damaging and degrading forests.

Jumpol was born in September 1950 in the northern province of Lampang. His father was a senior police officer with the rank of lieutenant general. Jumpol graduated from the Police Cadet Academy and went on to earn a master's degree in management from the National Institute of Development Administration.

Following the coup that overthrew Thaksin's government in September 2006, Jumpol was moved to an inactive post in the Prime Minister's Office.

In 2011, he was appointed a senior official at the Royal Household Bureau. He was promoted to Grand Chamberlain in charge of security and special affairs last September.

Last week, another senior palace official was sacked on a charge of improperly making gains from his position.

Air Vice Marshal Chitpong Thongkum, who served in His Majesty the King's security detail, was also stripped of his military ranks and royal decorations in an order by the prime minister that was published in the Royal Gazette on February 19.

He was accused of stealing royal property, disclosing His Majesty's personal health records and failing to report to duty as required.

King Vajiralongkorn takes part in Chinese funeral rite for the late King Bhumibol


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