By Thai Newsroom Reporters
LEGAL GURU Mechai Ruchupan was found to have earned over 11 million baht in monthly salary and tax-free allowance over a five-year time working for the 2014 coup junta under leadership of army chief-turned-Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Mechai has been viewed as staunchly loyal to Prayut who orchestrated the bloodless coup and managed to name him as chairman of a constitution drafting committee and member of the junta-led National Council for Peace and Order with such considerable income having been provided for him out of the taxpayer’s money between 2014 and 2019, according to former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn.
Mechai’s 11.4 million baht earnings included 6.9 million baht in monthly salary for his role as legal mentor for the Prayut-led coup junta and 4.5 million baht in tax-free allowance for his role as chairman of the charter drafting panel.
Between 2015 and 2018, the Mechai committee held 501 meetings each of which incurred 9,000 baht in allowance for the chairman of the panel.
Mechai recently submitted a written statement to the Constitutional Court in apparent effort to help with Prayut’s own effort to prolong his rule, saying his eight-year tenure maximumly provided by law may have started from 2017 the year in which the junta-designed constitution was promulgated, thus allowing the unelected premier to prolong his rule until 2025.
Nevertheless, the legal guru was reported to have earlier concluded otherwise as recorded during the minutes of his panel’s meetings and in line with the constitution’s clauses which stipulate that one’s tenure may take a retroactive effect, thus regardless of whether it may start either before, during or after the promulgation of the charter.
Somchai has emerged among many university academics, opposition lawmakers and others who have strongly maintained that Prayut’s eight-year rule has already ended since last month on account of its start from 2014 the year in which he orchestrated the coup as army chief and then practically named himself head of a military-installed government.
Legal expert Mechai Ruchupan. Top photo: Sanook.com, Front Page photo: INN News