23 May 2024

A senior member of the opposition Thai Liberal party will ask the Election Commission (EC) to investigate alleged bribery implicating some MPs in smaller parties ahead of the censure debate vote in the Lower House last weekend, while political activist Srisuwan Janya threatens to take the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) tomorrow (Tuesday) seeking a separate probe.

Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, a former election commissioner and the Thai Liberal party’s chief strategist for policies, said today that he will ask the election watchdog to investigate a video image showing what are thought to be money transfers to the bank accounts of some MPs of the micro-parties with mostly one MP each.

Some members of the group, however, contend that the slips are fake.

Somchai said that he is now in the process of drafting a complaint, to be submitted to the EC in the next two weeks, asking them to exercise their authority by seeking cooperation from the Bank of Thailand, commercial banks and the Anti-Money Laundering Office to check the bank accounts of those implicated and to identify the money trail.

Citing the Political Parties Act, the former election commissioner said that the EC can take legal action againstthose who give bribes and those who accept them.

The image of what are purported to be transfer slips was leaked on social media last week, before voting was due to take place after the four-day censure debate on Saturday. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his ten ministers survived the vote, as opposition parties failed to muster enough support to censure any of them.

Citing Section 128 of the anti-corruption law, Srisuwan said that state officials, including MPs and senators, are prohibited from receiving assets or other vested interests worth more than 3,000 baht.

If convicted by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders, he said the MPs who took bribescould be banished from politics for ten years.

The micro parties are what make the government coalition, headed by the Palang Pracharath Party that nominated Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as its prime ministerial candidate, rather wobbly. Despite some disagreements over the years, most of them have stayed with the coalition.