Watchdog pick to face court challenge

Pol Gen Sathaporn Laothong, a police inspector-general, was yesterday elected a new member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) as critics raised questions about his qualifications.

The Senate voted 76 to 43 for Pol Gen Sathaporn to replace Methee Krongkaew, whose tenure as an economic specialist NACC member has ended.

However, a clique of 40 senators is expected to file a petition asking the Constitution Court to rule whether Pol Gen Sathaporn's police inspector-general position is really equivalent to the director-general position as claimed by the Senate panel responsible for screening the qualifications of the candidates.

One requirement of the selection was that candidates must hold a position equivalent to or higher than that of the director general.

Before the vote, appointed senator Somchai Sawaengkarn told the Senate meeting that the police inspector-general does not hold equal authority to that of the director-general of the Royal Thai police.

And since it was doubted if Pol Gen Sathaporn was qualified for the NACC selection, the Senate had better ask the court to rule on this matter before moving ahead with the vote, said Sen Somchai, who is a key member of the so-called 40 senator group.

Appointed senator Pichet Sunthornpipit, who is a former NACC member, said a position could be deemed equivalent to the director-general in two cases, namely having an equal salary and holding equal executive authority.

Although Pol Gen Sathaporn fits the first case of having equal salary, the Senate should be in no doubt over the matter before moving on to the vote, he said.

About the author

Writer: Mongkol Bangprapa
Position: Reporter