The Criminal Court on Monday has found wellknown TV host Sorayuth Suthassanachinda and his firm's executives guilty of cheating the state-owned MCOT Plc of about Bt138 million in advertising revenue in 2005 and 2006.
The Criminal Court on Monday found well-known TV host Sorayuth Suthassanachinda and his aide guilty of cheating the state-owned MCOT Plc of about Bt138 million in advertising revenue in 2005 and 2006.
Sorayuth and Montha Teeradej were each sentenced to 13 years 4 months in jail.
The Court also sentenced an MCOT employee, Pichapa Iamsa-ard, to 20 years in jail for collaborating with the defendants in concealing the advertising money. Initially the Court gave Pichapa 30 years and Sorayuth and Montha to 20 years each but later commuted the prison terms as the defendants gave useful information during the trial.
The National Anti-Corruption Corruption Commission has indicted Sorayuth, his firm; the Rai Som, Sukanya and Montha as well as Pichapa of cheating MCOT out of Bt138 million in advertising revenue in 2005 and 2006.
The national anti-graft agency revealed that in June 2003, MCOT contracted Sorayuth to be the daily host for its “Thueng Luk Thueng Khon” news programme on TV Channel 9.
The programme proved popular and prompted Sorayuth to establish Rai Som in February 2004.
Rai Som also had a contract with MCOT to co-produce the “Kui Kui Khao” news programme. Rai Som was allocated advertising slots of between two and five minutes during the news programme.
If its advertisements exceeded the time slots, Rai Som was supposed to pay MCOT at least Bt200,000 per minute.
The Court Monday found Sorayuth guilty of paying Pichapa to help conceal the records of the advertising airtime used by Rai Som.
Sorayuth made six payments worth a total of Bt739,770.50 baht to Pichapa who was responsible for recording commercial time.
Pichapa managed to conceal the recording of Rai Som’s additional advertising time between February 4, 2005 and June 30, 2006 amounting to Bt138.79 million.
On August 31, 2006, Rai Som sought a 30-per-cent discount on the amount and paid Bt103.95 million to MCOT. The offer was rejected and the case was later brought to the NACC to punish the state employee responsible for the fraud.