Bangkok Post – Activists defy ministerial pick

Networks of activists on Tuesday petitioned the Election Commission (EC) to look into the qualifications of newly appointed PM’s Office Minister Pichit Chuenban and then forward the matter to the Constitutional Court.

The petition was submitted by Pichit Chaimongkol, leader of the Network of Students and People Reforming Thailand, and Anond Klingkaew, leader of the People’s Centre to Protect the Monarchy.

Chaimongkol said Chuenban is unfit to serve as a cabinet minister under Section 160 of the constitution because he was sentenced to jail in the past. The section covers the moral and ethical standards of a cabinet minister.

After his jail sentence, Chuenban ‘s lawyer licence was revoked, the leader of the activist group said.

“Anyone who will assume a cabinet post should have a higher level of moral standards than others,” Chaimongkol said.

He also said that in the petition, the groups have asked the Constitutional Court to suspend the newly appointed minister from duty pending a ruling.

He went on to say the prime minister should have checked the qualifications of Chuenban first and should not submit the name of a cabinet minister with a questionable background for royal endorsement.

He said the groups would also ask the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the prime minister over his failure to properly verify the qualifications of those who will become cabinet ministers next week.

The appointment of Chuenban — an adviser to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin who also served as ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s former lawyer — as a new PM’s Office Minister raises questions about his eligibility to serve as a cabinet minister.

This is because he served time in jail for contempt of court over an attempted bribery case when he represented Thaksin in a controversial land case back in 2008.

On June 25, 2008, the Supreme Court sentenced Chuenban and two of his colleagues to six months in prison after they tried to bribe Supreme Court officials by handing them a paper bag containing two million baht in cash a fortnight earlier.

All three represented Thaksin and his ex-wife, Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, in the Ratchadaphisek land case, for which Thaksin was sentenced to two years in prison in 2008.

SOURCE: : Thailand   (go to source)
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