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SUNDAY, September 24, 2023

Move Forward leader responds to allegation of media shareholding

Move Forward leader responds to allegation of media shareholding
WEDNESDAY, May 10, 2023

Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat responded on Tuesday to an allegation that he holds media shares, explaining that the shares are a family heritage and he is just the manager of that heritage.

The 42,000 shares, worth 5 baht each, in media company ITV Plc, were left to him by his late father several years ago, said Pita, who is also the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the upcoming general election.

He added that he had notified the National Anti-Corruption Commission of the shares “a long time ago”.

The issue was brought into the spotlight earlier on Tuesday by political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, who urged the Election Commission (EC) to consider disqualifying Pita for holding media shares, in violation of the constitution.

The activist pointed out that the Constitution’s Article 98 (3) prohibits owners or shareholders of media firms to run in national elections.

Ruangkrai claimed he has checked ITV’s shareholders’ list and learned that as of April 7 this year, Pita was shareholder No 6,121 and held 42,000 shares.

He also alleged that Pita did not include the ITV shares when he declared his assets upon assuming the post of MP on May 25, 2019.

Ruangkrai Leekitwattana

In a tweet on Tuesday, Pita said: “Move Forward is gaining in popularity so it is normal that some want to stop us. I urge party candidates, staffers and all supporters to not be swayed by these nonsense allegations. Please focus only on the election, as nothing can stop Move Forward at this point.”

The Nation on Tuesday reached out to a court judge to shed light on the issue.

The judge said a heritage manager is not considered a holder of shares and only has the power to vote for directors during ordinary shareholder meetings.

“However, Pita’s name in ITV’s shareholders’ list was missing the phrase ‘in the capacity of heritage manager’ so it could be construed that he was a shareholder and not a heritage manager,” said the judge.

The judge added that the missing phrase can however be seen as an error in printing.

In November 2019, Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was disqualified from his MP position by the Constitutional Court for holding shares in a media company, V-Luck Media.

After the party was disbanded by the court in 2020 for violation of election laws regarding donations, most of the former members joined Move Forward Party, Pita among them.

Move Forward leader responds to allegation of media shareholding