Supreme Court jails ex-Democrat MP, brother for 2 years for electoral fraud
The Supreme Court on Wednesday sentenced a former Democrat Party MP and his younger brother to two years in jail and banned them from politics for ten years for cheating in a local election in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
The Supreme Court upheld rulings by the primary and appeals courts against Thepthai Senpong – former Nakhon Si Thammarat MP and former Democrat Party deputy secretary-general – and Manoj Senpong.
The Supreme Court ordered the two to be jailed without suspending their prison terms and banned them from contesting elections for no less than a decade.
Former Nakhon Si Thammarat Administrative Organisation (PAO) governor Pichai Boonyakiart and his Democrat MP brother Chinnaworn Boonyakiart had accused the two of collaborating to cheat in the Nakhon Si Thammarat PAO election in 2014.
On August 28, 2020, the primary court found the two defendants guilty and sentenced them to two years in jail while slapping them with a ten-year political ban.
Both appealed against the ruling but Appeals Court Area 8 on May 11, 2021, upheld the primary court’s verdict and the sentence. The two were released on bail pending a further appeal in the Supreme Court.
On January 2021, the Constitutional Court disqualified Thepthai as the Democrat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat Constituency 3. The court also banned him from politics for ten years.
This court ruling led to a by-election in the constituency on March 7, 2021. Palang Pracharath Party candidate Aryasit Sisuwan beat Thepthai’s brother, Pongsin Senpong, in the by-election.
Speaking to reporters after hearing the verdict, Pichai thanked the courts for justice delivered in the case after he had "fought for it for eight years".
He hoped the verdict would serve as a lesson to other politicians not to engage in electoral fraud.