Charter court accepts media share cases of 32 pro-government MPs
The Constitutional Court today agreed to accept for consideration the cases of 32 pro-government MPs accused by the opposition Future Forward party of owning or holding shares in media companies in violation of the election law.
At the same time, the court decided to drop the cases of nine other pro-government MPs facing similar allegations on the grounds that the evidence, presented by the Future Forward party in the form of memoranda of association of companies registered at the Business Development Department, did not clearly indicate the firms intended to engage in the media business.
The nine MPs who were let off the hook were Mr. Sastra Sriparn, Mr. Surasak Chingnawan, Ms. Prim Poolcharoen, Ms. Pareena Kraikupt, Mr. Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Mr. Chakkrapan Pornnimit, Mr. Korn Chatikavanij, Mr. Pramual Pongthawaradej and Mr. Akkaradej Wongpitakroj.
Since these cases were dropped, the court did not consider the Future Forward party’s demand that they should be suspended from performing their duty as MPs.
As for the 32 MPs whose cases were accepted for consideration, the court ruled against the Future Forward party’s demand that they be suspended from parliamentary duties, claiming that their cases have not yet been investigated, but are based upon unverified company registration documents.
“As there are no causes to suspect that the 32 MPs (owned or held media shares) as accused, there is no reason for them to be suspended from performing their duties,” said the court.
The court explained that the cases of the 32 MPs were different from that of Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit, who was suspended from his duties for holding shares in V-Luck Media Company when he registered his election candidacy.
In Thanathorn’s case, the Election Commission investigated the case to the extent that the commission believed he owned media shares before the case was submitted to the Constitutional Court, the court said.
The 32 pro-government MPs were given 15 days to submit their written defences to the court.