Don denies wife’s stockholding bars him from office
AFTER DAYS of speculation, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai has declared that his wife Narirat’s stockholdings should not disqualify him from holding a ministerial seat, despite a ruling by the Election Commission (EC).
Don claimed that contrary to the EC’s findings, the assets were actually reported to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on at least four occasions in accordance with the law.
“These stockholdings are shares that his wife received from her father as an inheritance some 37 years ago,” said the Foreign Ministry.
“They are not concessionary shares but are shares held within the family and unlisted on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.”
The stockholders consist of 6-7 relatives of his wife and the shares have remained untouched ever since they were inherited, the Ministry added.
It also said Don had not yet been notified in writing of the EC’s ruling but would be prepared to explain everything to them once they formally approached him.
It was first reported last Thursday that the EC had voted that the stockholdings could breach constitutional requirements to ministers and thus force the 68-year-old out of office.
Initial reports said that Narirat’s stake in the company exceeded 5 per and this was also not declared, another potential breach of the Partner and Share Management of Ministers Act.
The 2017 constitution requires that disclosures be made by ministers of any stockholdings owned by them, theirs spouses or their non-adult children.
The EC has since yet to clarify the report, only saying that Don and other eight ministers are being confidentially investigated following a petition filed in May last year by Pheu Thai Party lawyer Ruangkrai Leekitwattana.
While he did declare Narirat’s stockholdings to the NACC a total of four times since he started serving the Cabinet in 2013, her amount of stocks did exceed the legal limit, said the EC.
According to the Isra News Agency, Narirat’s shares in Panawong Company Limited, as shown in Don’s second asset declaration in August 2015, showed that she held 7,200 shares, equivalent to a 12 per cent stake.
Her shareholdings in Panawong Realty Company Limited also covers 3,500 shares, accounting for 17.5 per cent of the total.
Isra News reported that Narirat lowered her stake to a legally-acceptable four per cent in both companies as of last October, months after Ruangkrai filed a petition against Don.
The excessive shares were transferred to their 35-year-old son, Puen Pramudwinai.
Meanwhile, PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted that had no plans to shuffle either Don or the Cabinet in the near future.
“I won’t make any changes. If they can’t stay, they’ll have to quit,” Prayut said angrily.
Don also met Prayut at Government House yesterday but both refused to reveal details of their meeting.