Thaksin will escape jail term

Thaksin will escape jail term

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, centre, and his then wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, lower centre, at the Criminal Court in Bangkok on July 31, 2008. He was later sentenced in absentia to a two-year jail term for abuse of authority while prime minister in 2003. The sentence will lapse on Oct 21 when the statute of limitations expires. (File photo)
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, centre, and his then wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, lower centre, at the Criminal Court in Bangkok on July 31, 2008. He was later sentenced in absentia to a two-year jail term for abuse of authority while prime minister in 2003. The sentence will lapse on Oct 21 when the statute of limitations expires. (File photo)

Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will no longer be liable to serve the two-year jail sentence handed down 10-years ago in the Ratchadaphisek land case once the statute of limitations expires on Oct 21, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam admitted on Tuesday.

Mr Wissanu denied the benefit Thaksin would gain resulted from any delays caused by government officials.

They could do nothing in the case because Thaksin could not be brought into the prosecution process.

Thaksin would also, similarly, benefit in some other legal cases against him, Mr Wissanu said.

On Oct 21, 2008, the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced Thaksin to two years in jail, convicting him of violating the National Counter Corruption Act in the Ratchadaphisek land purchase case.

He was charged with abusing his authority while prime minister to facilitate his then-wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra's purchase of 33 rai of land on Thiam Ruam Mit Road in the Ratchadaphisek area from the Bank of Thailand's Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF) at a discounted price of 772 million baht in 2003.

He was supposed to set a good example, be scrupulous and act in keeping with the code of ethics for such an entrusted position, the court said.

Thaksin, who was removed from office by a coup while overseas in 2006 but later returned, fled the country in 2008, just before the court handed down the sentence. He jumped bail after attending the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games with his then-wife in Beijing in August 2008. The couple later divorced and she did return.

The government's efforts to extradite Thaksin over the last 10 years have been totally ineffective.


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