New city boss summoned to respond to DSI charges

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has summoned Bangkok governor-elect Sukhumbhand Paribatra to report on Thursday to hear a charge of violating the Political Parties Act.

MR Sukhumbhand, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and 46 other Democrat MPs face the same charge related to salary donations made to the party, said Pol Col Nirand Adulyasak, chief of the DSI's Bureau of Special Crime.

If found guilty, Mr Abhisit, MR Sukhumbhand and the other MPs would be banned from politics for five years, with a possible penalty of up to three years in jail and a fine of at least three times the amount of the donated money.

Mr Abhisit had already been summoned to acknowledge the charge, he added.

Section 57 of the Political Parties Act, one of the three organic laws under the 2007 Constitution, stipulates that any donation to a political party exceeding 20,000 baht must be made by a crossed cheque or bill of exchange, Pol Col Nirand said.

Mr Abhisit, MR Sukhumbhand and the 46 Democrat MPs had made donations to their party by having the money deducted from their salary accounts, he said.

Pol Col Nirand said that after MR Sukhumbhand answers the charge, he will conclude the case and forward it to DSI chief Tarit Pengdith within one month.

As for the other 46 MPs, the DSI will summon them to hear the charge after the current parliamentary session ends on April 20, he said.

Pol Col Niran insisted that the DSI had followed proper legal procedures in issuing the summonses and that it had no intention to disrupt the Election Commission's endorsement of MR Sukhumbhand's Bangkok governor election victory.

MR Sukhumbhand was busy campaigning for the Bangkok governorship election last month, so the DSI decided to call him to acknowledge the charge next week, Pol Col Nirand said.

He said the donations the 48 Democrats had made to the party totalled about 15 million baht.

The donations were made between 2008 and 2011 and Pol Col Nirand said MR Sukhumbhand made five donations of 100,000 baht each.

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Writer: King-oua Laohong
Position: Reporter