Ex-culture minister Itthipol acquitted as graft case expires

TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2024

The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases Region 2 on Monday acquitted former Culture Minister and former mayor of Pattaya City Itthipol Khunpluem from charges as the case against him and others reached its statute of limitations.

Itthipol was present at the court located in Muang district of Rayong province on Monday. He left without speaking to the media after hearing the court’s verdict.

Itthipol is accused of abuse of power for issuing an illegal construction permit to Bali Hai Co Ltd to build a luxury condominium called Waterfront at the base of Phra Tamnak Mountain in Pattaya City, Chonburi province in 2008 during his tenure as mayor of Pattaya City.

Ex-culture minister Itthipol acquitted as graft case expires

On August 3, 2023, the Office of the Attorney General resolved to file charges against Itthipol and 9 others for taking part in the issuance of the permit.

The case has a statute of limitations of 15 years and ended on September 10, 2023, according to a source.

Itthiphol, 50, faced charges of malfeasance under Section 157 of the Criminal Code, which carries a prison sentence of one to 10 years.

Ex-culture minister Itthipol acquitted as graft case expires

The Waterfront condominium project was built on two rai (3,200 sq.metre) of land at the foot of Phra Tamnak Mountain, adjacent to Pattaya Bay and Bali Hai Pier. The developer Bali Hai Co Ltd is part of the Israeli company Tulip Group.

The complex includes a 53-storey condominium and 20-storey hotel, totlaling 315 units. The building, which had sparked controversy among locals as blocking the scenic points from nearby tourist attractions, is under demolition orders because its permit was illegally issued.