Thanathorn unfazed by EC’s probe into loans to Future Forward party
Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said today (Saturday) that he is not worried about the Election Commission’s meeting next week to consider the case involving the party receiving two loans, totaling 191 million baht, from Thanathorn.
Shortly after the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission disclosed asset declarations by about 80 MPs, including Thanathorn, EC Secretary-General Jarungvith Phumma said that he would submit the case to the election commissioners for consideration next week.
According to the NACC’s Office, Thanathorn’s declared assets of about 5.137 billion baht, including two loans he granted to the Future Forward party this year. The first loan of 161 million baht, signed on January 2nd, is to be repaid in three years with 7.5% interest per annum. The second loan of 30 million baht, signed on April 11th, is to be repaid in one year at a 2% interest rate.
Insisting that the two loans are not revenue, Thanathorn told the media that he had already clarified the matter with Election Commission (EC) officials and would be ready to do so again if required by the EC.
He noted that, if the EC interprets a loan as revenue, the accounting system of all companies and organizations will be seriously disrupted.
Future Forward secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul contends that a loan is not revenue and, since the Political Party Act states that a party can obtain revenue from seven sources without any mention of loan, it is permissible for the party to accept loans from Thanathorn.
However, a former Supreme Court judge Chuchart Srisaeng argued that a party cannot obtain loans from an individual or a legal entity because the Political Party Act only mentions that a party may receive revenue from only seven sources, excluding loans.
According to the Political Party Act, a party is prohibited from using its funds to settle loans. Violation of the law means the party leader and its executive committee face imprisonment from 5-10 years and political banishment for five years.
Political parties are also banned from receiving donations or contribution in the forms of cash, valuables or interest of more than 10 million baht per year.