Thaksin opts out of reconciliation drive

The most recent picture of Thaksin Shinawatra, posted on his Facebook page on Dec 19, shows him expressing support for Thai agricultural products ahead of the New Year. (Photo from @thaksinofficial Facebook)

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has made clear that he has no interest in the current government-engineered bid for reconciliation.

After staying quiet for more than three months, the fugitive former prime minister broke his silence on Friday, as he and his family have been targeted by authorities and critics, while the military government is pushing for an end to a decade of political divisiveness.

Thaksin said he was not interested in the process and urged the government to stop using “conflicts” as an excuse to prolong power.

“As for the reconciliation process that will soon take place, I would like all parties to count me out of the equation,” he wrote on his Facebook account

“I don’t want anybody to come up with any proposal to help me. On the other hand, those in power should not use their magic and all means just to get rid of me.”.

He was referring to the recently ended process in which a military-dominated panel heard proposals from some 40 political parties and groups including about how to heal the political divide.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said last week that a reconciliation contract would be ready by June for political parties and groups to sign.

Revenue Department officials on Wednesday post a notice demanding taxes from former premier Thaksin Shinawatra outside the Bangkok residence now occupied by his former wife. (Photo by Pawat Laopaisarntaksin)

Thaksin’s open letter on @thaksinofficial was the first message he had posted since Dec 19.

He said he had planned to avoid making comments but could not remain silent after facing accusations by the government and others that he was the mastermind behind several divisive moves including attempts to end the royal institution.

He denied all allegations.

Thaksin ordered lawyer Chumsai Sriyapai to sue two TV hosts on March 24 after they accused him of being indirectly linked to fugitive hard-core red-shirt Wuthipong “Kotee” Kochathamakun following a major weapons seizure at the latter’s house.

The lawyer on Thursday also filed defamation and computer crime lawsuits against columnist Ploei Si-ngern of Thai Post for alleging that Thaksin had intended to evade tax on sales of Shin Corp shares, and against TNews for alleging a connection with Kotee.

Ploei Si-ngern is a pen name of Roj Ngammaen, the founder of the daily newspaper.

The Revenue Department, meanwhile, posted a notice demanding more than 16 billion baht in tax from Thaksin outside the Bangkok house of his ex-wife on Wednesday, after the cabinet on March 14 resolved to issue the notification to him following talks with various agencies, including the Finance Ministry, the Office of the Attorney-General and the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

The Shin Corp deal involved the sale in 2006 for huge profits of shares transferred at just one baht apiece to Thaksin’s son Panthongtae and his daughter Pinthongta.

Revenue Department officials have maintained for years that under the law as it stands they do not have a case against Thaksin, but the junta and others are determined to continue pursuing the case in the courts. A final judgement could take up to seven years and possibly much longer if it goes all the way to the Supreme Court.

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