6 June 2024

Fugitive former culture minister Itthiphol Kunplome has offered to surrender to face corruption charges, in connection with the illegal issuance of a permit for the construction of a condominium in Pattaya.

Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), told the media today (Friday) that Itthiphol had offered to surrender, but declined to elaborate.

He did say that the former culture minister could, however, surrender to any governmental agency, because the warrant for his arrested was issued by a court, adding that he will be arrested on sight anyway.

Itthiphol left Thailand for Cambodia on a Cambodia Airways flight on August 30, about a month after the National Anti-Corruption Commission found he had committed malfeasance in office by illegally issuing a permit for the construction of the Water Front condominium, at the foot of Khao Phra Tamnak Hill in Pattaya, in September 2008 when he was mayor of Pattaya City. The NACC also had him removed from the office of culture minister.

In 2014, a civic group in Pattaya, called Pattaya Watchdog, filed a complaint with the NACC claiming that the construction permit had expired in 2010 and, in the same year, Pattaya was declared an environmentally protected area.