Government spokesman Lt-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd led a team of spokesmen from the Defence Ministry and Thai Airways International to defend Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan's use of THAI's chartered flight service for the trip to Hawaii to attend the ASEAN-US defence ministers meet during September 29-October 1.
It was alleged that General Prawit's 38-member delegation spent 20.9 million baht for the trip.
Lt-Gen Sansern said the government had attached great importance to transparency and suppression of corruption. However, he noted that the disinformation about the spending might disappoint many people who had high expectation from the government.
The spokesman said foreign trips whether by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha or any of the deputy prime ministers had to follow the same rule set by the PM's Office. He disclosed, since taking office about two years ago, the prime minister used chartered fight service twice a trip to Italy and another trip to Russia while General Prawit used just once the trip to Hawaii which sparked off the controversy.
He said that even though some of the food in the menu were highly priced, it didn't mean that Gen Prawit's team ate the expensive food as they might just eat noodles on board.
The issue in question, he said, was blown out of proportion and the government suspected foul play by political elements to discredit the government.
THAI president Charumporn Jotikasathien, meanwhile, said THAI followed its set of rules in providing chartered flight service to General Prawit's delegation. He expected the final figures of the trip within two months.
Charumporn dismissed as a disinformation the list of the names of the delegation to Hawii posted in the social media.
A complaint has already been lodged with Crime Suppression Division by THAI to take action against those responsible for leakage of false information in the social media.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)