Suspended transport minister faces another complaint at Constitutional Court

FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2023

The Move Forward Party will join forces with the Prachachart Party to file another petition against suspended transport minister Saksayam Chidchob with the Constitutional Court, one that could see him banned from holding political office for two years, Move Forward party-list MP Pakornwut Udompipatsakul said on Friday.

Pakornwut and Prachachart MP Thawi Sodsong will co-sponsor another petition to submit to the Constitutional Court against Saksayam, he said.

They will accuse Saksayam of violating Section 144 of the Constitution, Pakornwut said, adding that the entire Cabinet of Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha might be affected if the court rules against Saksayam.

On March 3, the Constitutional Court suspended Saksayam from his post as transport minister after it accepted a petition accusing him of using a nominee to hold shares in the construction company Burijarearn Construction Ltd Part.

The company won 2.21 billion baht worth of contracts from the Transport Ministry from 2019 to 2022.

The petition, signed by 54 opposition MPs, asked the court to rule on whether Saksayam had violated the charter’s ban on ministers holding shares in companies.

The petition followed a censure debate held against Saksayam by Pakornwut and Thawi in July of last year.

During the debate, Pakornwut alleged that Saksayam owned Burijarearn Construction but used an employee as a nominee to conceal his ownership.

Saksayam vehemently denied owning the company.

Pakrornwut alleged on Friday that Saksayam may have violated a paragraph in Section 144 of the charter that prohibits MPs from proposing or adding new spending items or projects to the budget bill.

That section also allows MPs to ask the Constitutional Court to rule whether an MP or senator violated the ban, Pakrornwut said, adding that one-tenth of all MPs must sign the petition for it to be accepted by the court.

The court is required to ban an MP or senator, who violated Section 144, from holding political office, Pakornwut said.

The entire cabinet of Prayut might be affected if it was proven by the court that its members knew of the alleged violation but failed to act to stop it, Pakornwut said, explaining that Cabinet members could be banned from holding political posts if this scenario was proven to be true.

If the court rules against Saksayam in the new petition, he will be banned from holding political office for two years, Pakornwut said.

Previous reports:

Suspension of transport minister won’t impede government, PM says

Saksayam accused of concealing assets, allegedly using nominee to win projects

Saksayam denies owning firm that won THB1bn Transport Ministry projects