Opposition targets Saksayam on shares

Opposition targets Saksayam on shares

Saksayam: Rejects allegations
Saksayam: Rejects allegations

The opposition yesterday submitted a petition to the House Speaker seeking to remove Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob from office for alleged share concealment.

Opposition MPs led by Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew asked the House to forward their petition to the Constitutional Court to rule on the status of Mr Saksayam and revoke his rights to contest elections.

They claimed Mr Saksayam, of the Bhumjaithai Party, violated Section 144 of the charter which governs examination of budget expenditure, and submitted evidence of his alleged wrongdoing.

According to the opposition, Mr Saksayam used a nominee to hold shares in a construction company which was awarded contracts worth billions of baht by the Transport Ministry.

The petition was delivered to Dr Sukij Atthopakorn, adviser to the House Speaker.

Mr Saksayam's alleged use of nominees to hold shares was raised in the censure debate in July last year.

He was accused of concealing his assets in Burijarearn Construction Limited Partnership and using an employee as a nominee to hold shares on his behalf.

According to the opposition, the company was established in 1996, with 80% of its shares held by the Chidchob family. Mr Saksayam quit being a shareholder when he entered politics in 1997.

However, Mr Saksayam became a major shareholder in 2015 when he increased the company's registered capital to 120 million baht. The firm was awarded construction projects worth 440 million baht between 2015 and 2017. Before the 2019 election, Mr Saksayam transferred his shares worth 119.4 million baht to his nominee, according to the opposition.

The minister rejected the allegations, saying it was a friend who bought the company's shares and there was proof of the money transfer.

A meeting of the cabinet, opposition and government whips yesterday resolved to hold the general debate on Feb 15–16, said Sutin Klungsang, the opposition chief whip.

The Department of Business Development also issued a certificate for the transaction on March 28, 2018. The minister insisted he now has nothing to do with the company.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai MP for Sakon Nakhon Pattana Sapso said yesterday the issue would be raised during the general debate next month.

The general debate under Section 152 of the charter would be the last debate, without a vote, before the current session ends on Feb 28.

Dr Cholnan said the opposition has no concerns about the government's possible use of a lack of quorum to force an end to the debate. He said this tactic would be evading opposition scrutiny and would be in breach of the charter.



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