Court to rule on Thamanat's murky past
The Constitutional Court has agreed to rule on the qualifications of Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow in light of his criminal record in Australia.
The court said yesterday it would accept a petition forwarded by House Speaker Chuan Leekpai about Capt Thamanat and his conviction and sentencing in Australia.
Capt Thamanat was sentenced to six years in prison in 1993 by an Australian appeal court in a case related to heroin smuggling, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed. He has also been accused of forging a doctorate degree in public administration.
He was grilled by the opposition during the censure debate in February. The Phayao MP denied the allegations.
The charter court yesterday ordered Capt Thamanat to defend the accusations within 15 days of receiving a copy of the petition. He is allowed to continue in office pending the court's ruling.
The court did not say when it would deliver its ruling.
Move Forward Party MPs petitioned the House speaker in May to seek a ruling from the charter court on Capt Thamanat's eligibility to sit as an MP and to hold a cabinet portfolio.