The wife of a controversial deputy minister has been appointed to a political office, the government announced on Tuesday, raising fears of cronyism and nepotism within the ruling coalition.
Thanaporn Sriwiraj, the spouse of Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompow and former Miss Thailand, would be taking a position within the PMO and work closely with her civil servant counterparts.
Traisuree Taisaranakul, the deputy government spokesperson, said the move was effective from Tuesday.
She said Thanaporn has been actively working as her husband’s personal secretary before the proposal was made to the cabinet.
Thammanat is one of the most controversial ministers within the current cabinet. According to news reports in Australia, the deputy minister was sentenced to jail in Sydney for smuggling drugs into Australia. He was also accused of obtaining a fake doctoral degree in public administration from degree mill in California.
Several staff members allegedly close to Thammanat were also caught selling face masks to China for profit at the height of the coronavirus pandemic when face mask stocks in the country were low.
According to Isra News Agency, Thanaporn, the wife of a career politician, drives a Porsche among several luxury cars. She also owns dozens of luxury watches and handbags worth millions of dollars.