Ombudsman: Deputy Premier Kittiratt’s white lie not unethical

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BANGKOK, Oct 4 – The ‘white lie’ regarding Thailand’s economic figures, made by Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong last year, was not unethical, the Ombudsman Office has ruled.

Raksagecha Chaechai, Ombudsman deputy secretary general, said Mr Kittiratt’s statement on achievable 15 per cent export growth for Thailand in 2012 was a positive forecast and it showed the government’s attempt to reach the target.

Mr Kittiratt’s white lie, publicly announced on the first anniversary of the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, was severely criticised and prompted a call for an investigation to determine if his statement was ethical or not.

Mr Raksagecha said the Ombudsman made the decision on September 13 and submitted it to the complainants and Prime Minister Yingluck, in her capacity as Mr Kittiratt’s superior.

The Ombudsman said some private agencies including the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Thai Banks Association and the Industrial Federation of Thailand were asked to explain on the forecast of economic figures.

They insisted that Mr Kittiratt’s statement did not have any impact on their businesses.

“Every government has to give its economic projection. Whether it is achievable or not depends on the economic situation,” said the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman said Mr Kittiratt later admitted that his export projection for 2012 was not achieved and that his statement was not a breach of the Prime Minister’s Office regulations on ethics of political position holders, said Mr Raksakecha.

He said the Ombudsman, however, told the prime minister to warn the deputy prime minister against making public statement that may jeopardise people’s confidence of the country.