Thailand's election commission to launch criminal charges against two former ministers
Thailand's Election Commission (EC) has resolved to launch criminal
charges against two former ministers in the ousted Thaksin administration for
misconducts in last year's April 2 election, media reported today.
to Thai News Agency, EC Secretary General Suthiphol Thavichaikarn said the
five-member panel had resolved to charge former Defense Minister Thammarak
Issarangura na Ayutthaya and former Transport Minister Pongsak Raktaphongphaisal
in the ousted Thanksin administration and seven other associates of violating
the MPs and Senatorial Election Acts as well as the Criminal Code, by being
involved in forging official documents and hiring two small parties to contest
last year's election.
Thammarak was former deputy leader of former ruling
party Thai Rak Thai (TRT), which was founded by ousted Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra in 1998, but now dissolved at a May 30 verdict by the Constitution
Tribunal on electoral fraud charges.
Pongsak was former TRT deputy
The Tribunal ruled that both the TRT executives were
involved in hiring the Pattana Chart Thai and Phaendin Thai parties to contest
the April 2 election in some particular constituencies so that TRT candidates
did not have to secure a minimum 20 percent of eligible votes as the election
law required, and helping the two parties to forge registration documents to
qualify the hired contesters as candidates.
Both Pattana Chart Thai and
Phaendin Thai parties were also ordered to disband in the verdict. The Tribunal
also deprived executives of the involved parties, including Thaksin, Thammarak
and Pongsak, of electoral rights for five years as punishment.
Election Commission did not move immediately after the ruling to file a criminal
lawsuit against the ex-executives.
Besides Thammarak and Pongsak, the
defendants also include Trairong Intharathat, then chairman of the joint chiefs
of staff attached to Thammarak as defense minister, and Phadungsak Klansanoh,
then assistant chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
Sutthipol said the EC
office would draft a complaint for the EC chairman to sign and submit to the
Central Investigation Bureau.