Embattled Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao is threatening to file about 100 defamation lawsuits against individuals and organizations who dug up his criminal past, concerning a drug case in Australia, and questioned his educational background in an effort to discredit him.

He said today that he will not give further clarifications regarding the drug and educational issues after his statement on the matter in parliament yesterday, noting that the allegations were part of a political ploy to discredit him. He also showed the media a transcript and a doctorate degree from a university in California in an attempt to prove that he did not lie about his degree, as had been alleged on the CSILA website in the US.

Thammanat said that this is not the first time that he has been unfairly attacked regarding his criminal past or challenged over his educational background.  He accused the whistleblower at the CSILA website of being a Thai fugitive who is now living in France.

The deputy agriculture minister said that he did not discuss the controversy surrounding him with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, claiming that it was a personal matter.

Meanwhile, Seri Ruam Thai party leader Seripisut Temiyavet said, in his capacity as head of the House Anti-Corruption Committee, that the committee will investigate Thammanat’s qualifications as the committee’s first task regarding his criminal past and educational background.

Seripisut, a former police chief, who claimed to be the one who tipped off the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in Australia about Thammanat’s drug case in 1993, also questioned the Prime Minister’s judgement in appointing him to a cabinet post.

For that matter, he said the Prime Minister should also be held accountable for appointing a tainted individual to an official post.

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