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Corrupt politicians should face jail and lifetime ban: NLA deputy chief

Jul 18. 2015
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By The Sunday Nation

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POLITICAL office holders found guilty of corruption should not only be banned for life but also face jail, vice president of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) Peerasak Porchit said yesterday.
Peerasak said yesterday that harsh punishment was needed to deal with corruption problems. He said while he supports the Constitution Drafting Assembly’s (CDC) idea of banning corrupt politicians from politics for life, there should also be imprisonment to strike fear in politicians thinking of profiting from graft. 
The NLA vice president added however that he didn’t agree with the idea of imposing bans retroactively.
For people found to have not fully disclosed their assets when taking office, Peerasak said one must differentiate those who did it out |of failure to be thorough to those who did it |out of an intention to conceal ill-gotten |wealth.
On Friday, the Constitution Drafting Committee resolved to maintain a clause in the new constitution that would ban for life anyone found by a court to be involved in corruption or electoral fraud from contesting an election to become an MP.
But former education minister and key Pheu Thai Party member Chaturon Chaisang said the idea of imposing a retroactive political ban for life on politicians removed from office was politically motivated.
He said the CDC itself was appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which staged the coup last year to oust the Pheu Thai government.
Chaturon said that applying this selectively to some and not others could only make the political divide worse.
Former deputy commerce minister Poom Sarapol said he has become fatalistic about the prospect of seeing himself banned from politics for life but added that he would defend himself in court.
Poom faces a trial for alleged corruption related to a rice deal under the Yingluck Shinawatra administration which the anti-graft body says was not a real “government-to-government” deal.
In a related development, CDC spokesperson Kamnoon Sidhisamarn said the CDC has resolved to adjust details regarding the immunity of parliamentarians while the House is in session. New additions include enabling the House to vote to decide on whether to waive immunity, as well as automatic revocation of immunity for MPs found to have committed corruption or crimes that could result in a jail term of more than 10 years. 

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