BANGKOK — The authorities have yet to settle on which department would pursue criminal charges against a government lawmaker accused of encroaching on public land, an official said Wednesday.
Neatly two months after the scandal broke out, forestry department chief Thawatchai Ladkrud said the Council of State has not yet made its decision which government agency has the power to investigate Phalang Pracharath MP Parina Kraikupt for her encroachment of protected lands in Ratchaburi province.
Parina stands accused of building her poultry farm on two portions of public lands; one in protected forest, and one reserved for impoverished farmers. The former is overseen by the national park officials, while the latter is under the jurisdiction of the agriculture ministry.
Thawatchai said it is unclear when the Council of State, which is tasked with interpreting the laws, will reach its decision.
Parina declined to answer reporters’ questions on Tuesday. She referred all inquiries to her legal team.
The perceived delay in bringing criminal investigation against Parina was seen by anti-government activists as yet another proof of uneven enforcement of the law by the authorities.
Critics point to a contrast in swift and harsh prosecution of ordinary people accused of encroaching public lands, such as ethnic minorities who live in forest communities.