11 July 2024

The Thailand Consumer Council (TCC) formally asked the House Anti-Corruption Committee today (Wednesday) to investigate the 5-member Board of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), accusing it of malfeasance in office for “acknowledging” the merger plan between True Corporation and Total Access Communications (DTAC).

The council’s letter of petition was received by the House committee chairman, Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, who is also leader of Thai Liberal Party.

TCC Secretary-General Saree Aongsomwang said they want the House panel to probe the conduct of board members who, it feels, might have acted in contravention of Section 157 of the Criminal Code.

She said that, last Thursday, the board decided by 3:2 in favour of the merger plan, but with conditions attached, after they were evenly split on the plan after the fifth member abstained. The chairman cast the second deciding vote to end the impasse, she added.

Since the merger plan involves a huge amount of assets, estimated at about 200 billion baht, Saree said the decision must be based upon an absolute majority vote. Citing an announcement by the NBTC in 2019, she said that the board must approve or disapprove the merger plan, not just “acknowledge” the plan.

After receiving the petition, Pol Gen Sereepisuth said he is curious as to why the board rushed to make a decision, rather than waiting until two new board members are selected and approved by parliament.

The merger will create a new business entity, which will have a combined market share of 49.40%, with the rest being held by Advanced Info Services (AIS), leading to a market duopoly.