The Supreme Court yesterday suspended Deputy Education Minister Kanokwan Vilawan from performing her duties after accepting a petition accusing her of serious ethical misconduct in a land encroachment case.
The suspension order was sought by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) which lodged a petition with the court and asked it to rule if Ms Kanokwan committed a serious ethics violation in connection with the land scandal.
Ms Kanokwan, her father Soonthorn Vilawan, and eight other people were accused in June by the NACC of illegally occupying about 150 rai of land in Khao Yai National Park.
Based on the investigation, the accused were found to have occupied three areas of land in the park with false title deeds issued two decades ago by Land Department officials.
In its petition, the anti-graft agency said Ms Kanokwan sought the issuance of land deeds in February 2002 covering 30 rai of land in Prachin Buri's Muang district. She claimed to have purchased the plot in 1990 from a man who was found to be non-existent.
The NACC asked the Supreme Court to consider the allegations against Ms Kanokwan and ban her from politics if she was found guilty. It also requested an injunction suspending her until the ruling was given.
The court instructed her to submit her argument within 14 days of accepting the court's document and said she would remain suspended until the ruling. The court scheduled Oct 5 as the case's first hearing.