Ombudsman declines to refer digital wallet complaints to court


Cites lack of jurisdiction over government’s 500-billion-baht stimulus scheme

The Ombudsman ruled on Tuesday that it lacks jurisdiction to refer complaints about the digital wallet scheme to the Constitutional Court or other courts.

The scheme falls within the government’s executive authority, said Keirov Kritteeranon, secretary-general of the Office of the Ombudsman, as he announced the results of its review of the complaints.

The complaints centre on the government’s plan to distribute 10,000-baht payments to some 50 million adult citizens via digital wallets, as well as the proposed 500-billion-baht loan to finance the project. 

Complainants allege these actions breach the Constitution, the Currency Act, and the Financial Discipline Act.

The Ombudsman concluded that it lacks authority to refer the complaints for legal action as its mandate only extends to the exercise of “governance” by state agencies.


In contrast, the Cabinet was exercising its "administrative" authority in formulating policies such as the digital wallet, it said.

The establishment of national administrative policies and policy announcements does not constitute an exercise of governance authority under the law, it clarified. Hence, the Ombudsman could not submit the complaints to the Administrative Court.

On calls to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsman said there was no indication in the prime minister’s statement of April 10 that the government intends to fund the project via a 500-billion-baht loan decree, which complainants allege would violate the Constitution.  

The Ombudsman also declined to refer a complaint alleging that Prime Minister's Office Minister Pichit Chuenban does not qualify for the job due to a previous jail sentence. It explained that as per the Constitution, a minimum 10% of members of either the lower House or Senate could submit a petition on the case to the Constitutional Court. The Constitution also empowers the Election Commission to refer such matters to the court.

The Ombudsman has thus forwarded the case to the Election Commission, Keirov said.

Ombudsman declines to refer digital wallet complaints to court