By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THE NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION Commission was today (August 5) petitioned to investigate scandals in which MPs of six splinter parties have accepted kickbacks in cash from a major coalition partner, allegedly referring to Palang Pracharath Party.
Somchai Srisutthiyakorn and Vera Somkwamkid of Thai Liberal Party lodged the petition for the anti-graft agency to look into the alleged monthly handout of “bananas”, figuratively referring to kickbacks in cash in today’s political jargon, from Palang Pracharath Party to the MPs of the pro-government splinter parties in question.
The alleged payoffs in cash has amounted to 100,000 baht and been secretly handed out monthly over the last several months to each of the recipient lawmakers of the splinter parties, most of which only have one MP each.
No politicians and government officials are legally allowed to accept more than 3,000 baht either in cash or in value of any gift at a time.
“Bananas” had been allegedly offered in return for the splinter MPs’ votes to support Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and cabinet members attached to Palang Pracharath Party headed by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan during censure/no-confidence motions as well as to endorse major government-introduced legislations such as budget bills.
The alleged payoffs had been offered and received amidst fears that the Prayut government could possibly have been otherwise outvoted due to its meagre majority at parliament.
According to Somchai, a former election commissioner, not only those splinter parties but the largest coalition partner, allegedly referring to Palang Pracharath Party, could possibly be dissolved at the orders of the Constitutional Court if finally proven guilty as alleged.
Thai Liberal party leader Seripisut Temiyavej will file a similar petition with the Election Commission against Palang Pracharath Party and the six splinter parties allegedly “feeding on bananas.”
Both independent agencies are legally obliged to forward their respective conclusions on such allegations to the Constitutional Court for final judgement.
Top: Somchai Srisutthiyakorn with a carved representation of a palm-leaf manuscript box holding the Thai Constitution of 1932 at the Democracy Monument.
Front Page: Mr.Vera Somkwamkid of Thai Liberal Party. Both photos: Matichon