6 June 2024

InTouch Holdings, which holds a 52.92% stake in iTV, notified the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) today (Monday) that it is investigating a controversy regarding the actual status of the iTV media company.

In a letter to the SET, president and executive director of the company, Kim Siritaweechai, said that  the controversy, sparked by recent TV broadcasts, is of public interest and the company has formed a committee to look into it.

Last night, Channel 3’s “3-Miti-News” program revealed the minutes of the shareholders meeting on April 26th, which reported that a shareholder, Panuwat Kwanyuen, asked the chair of the meeting, Kim Siritaweechai, whether iTV is still operational as a media firm.

In the minutes, Kim is reported to have said that iTV is still operational in accordance with the registered objectives of the company and that the company has submitted its balance sheet and corporate tax return to the Revenue Department as normal.

A video clip, which was broadcast by reporter Thapanee Eadsrichai in the same news program, told a different story.

In the clip, Kim, in responding to Panuwat’s question about the status of iTV, is heard to have said that iTV has not been operating as a media company, pending the conclusion of a court case.

iTV has sued the secretariat of Prime Minister’s Office for scrapping its contract with iTV for the use of the UHF broadcast spectrum.

Former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn has warned the person who approved the minutes of the iTV shareholders meeting that they could face legal action if it is discovered that the minutes is are not genuine.

He issued the warning in response to the Channel 3 report that the content of the audio tape contradicts the minutes of the meeting.

Meanwhile, former Move Forward MP Chavalit Laohaudomphan, has warned that fabricating the minutes of a shareholder meeting by an electoral candidate is a violation of the election law and subject to 5-10 years’ imprisonment and 100,000-200,000 baht fine, while providing a false statement to authorities is subject to 7-10 years in prison and a fine of 140,000-200,000 baht on conviction.

Move Forward party leader Pita Limjaroenrat is alleged to have held 42,000 iTV shares, part of an inheritance from his late father about 17 years ago.

The registrar of political parties has decided to investigate whether Pita breached Section 151 of the election law, by registering as a candidate in the May 14th general election while knowingly holding shares in a media company and, therefore, that he was unqualified to do so.

Only recently Pita transferred all the iTV shares to other heirs to his late father’s inheritance.

Meanwhile, Move Forward Party MP-elect, Rangsiman Rome says that the party is ready to defend itself against such attempts to prevent them forming a coalition government, while also noting that some groups or individuals stand to lose their own benefits if Move Forward does become the core for the new coalition government.

“For the past four years, we have seen political weapons being used against us. In this case, if there’s manipulation of the document, we have to take legal action against those who were involved with that manipulation.”

He also said the he believes that there has been no manipulative editing of the recording of the shareholders meeting and that they trust Channel 3 to verify information before it is broadcast.