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Prayut promises to consider NACC members’ controversy

Jan 16. 2018
General Prayut Chan-o-cha
General Prayut Chan-o-cha
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By The Nation

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PRIME MINISTER General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday said the ongoing controversy over the qualifications of anti-graft commissioners was a critical issue that he would consider when it is referred to him.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) bill, recently endorsed by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), allows all current NACC commissioners to remain in office, although some of them appeared to be disqualified under the charter. Prayut said he would consider the issue when the bill is submitted to him, but at the moment the NLA itself was still considering whether to petition the Constitutional Court to rule on the matter. 

“It has not reached me yet as it is in the NLA’s process. They can proceed with the case,” said Prayut. 

Somchai Sawangkan, the NLA whip secretary, said some NLA members had started gathering signatures to petition the court.

At least 55 members voted against the bill or abstained from voting on the issue, which was more than enough to petition the court, as it requires at least 25 NLA members to support the petition, Somchai said. 

Chaturon Chaisang, a key figure in Pheu Thai Party, has warned the ruling junta of a “total collapse” if the NACC members are allowed to continue working.

He suggested on Monday that the bill should be amended to reflect the relevant constitutional clauses involving the qualifications of NACC members. Meanwhile, chief charter drafter Meechai Ruchupan said yesterday that the Constitutional Court should be asked to make a ruling regarding some members of the NACC who allegedly should be disqualified under the new charter. Meechai said the Constitution Drafting Commission was concerned about the issue, taking the view that waiving prohibitions on qualifications for the NACC was equivalent to waiving the Constitution, he said. 

If the court did not rule on the issue, issues are likely to arise in the future if people who are charged by the NACC challenge the commissioners’ qualifications, Meechai said. 

 

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