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NACC revives two cases against Thaksin under newly passed law

Oct 12. 2017
File photo: Thaksin Shinawatra
File photo: Thaksin Shinawatra
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THE NATIONAL Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is reviving two cases related to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra following the promulgation of legal procedures specified by the recently passed law on political office holders.

Thaksin’s lawyer, meanwhile, filed a petition with the Office of the Attorney-General asking for a review of lese majeste charge against the fugitive former premier.

NACC President Pol General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said yesterday that he had instructed the legal office to revive three cases under the jurisdiction of the agency following the promulgation of the new criminal procedures against political office holders, which allows prosecutors and the courts to pursue cases in absentia. 

The three cases had been suspended temporarily under the old law. 

Two of the three cases involve Thaksin, who fled Thailand in August 2008. 

The first case relates to alleged graft related to a loan advanced by the Export-Import Bank of Thailand, in which Thaksin was accused of abuse of power by ordering the bank in 2006 to increase a Bt3-billion loan to Bt4 billion so that Myanmar’s then-ruling junta could buy services from a Shinawatra-run company, Shin Satellite. 

An arrest warrant was issued on September 16, 2008 in that case.

The second case pertains to the two- and three-digit lottery scheme, in which Thaksin, his Cabinet and the then-Government Lottery Office director were accused of committing graft and neglecting their duties by approving a 2003 lottery scheme that was later found to violate the Government Lottery Office bill. 

A related arrest warrant was issued on September 26, 2008.

The third case involves the private sector over the procurement of fire trucks at a cost of Bt6.68-billion by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Watcharapol said.

He said the NACC would probably file a request with the Supreme Court to pursue the cases.

He denied the new law was designed to target Thaksin and his sister, fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was recently convicted in absentia of insufficient oversight of her former government’s rice-pledging scheme.

Meanwhile, Thaksin’s lawyer, Chokchai Angkaew, filed a petition with the Attorney-General asking for a review of charges against his client.

The new attorney-general, Khemchai Chutiwong, said last week the office had agreed with a police request to charge Thaksin with violations of the Penal Code’s Article 112 on lese majeste and the Computer Crime bill. 

Thaksin asked for either a more thorough review of the case or a full investigation before pressing charges. 

The charge relates to an interview Thaksin gave to South Korean media in 2015, in which he allegedly made contentious statements about who was behind the coup that ousted the Pheu Thai-led government in May 2014. The Office of Attorney-General’s deputy spokesman Prayuth Petkhun said Thaksin, as a defendant, had the right to file petitions during the investigation or prosecution process. 

On Monday, Thaksin also threatened via his Twitter account @thaksinlive to take legal action against people who had implicated him in actions deemed to have insulted the monarchy.

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