Thanathorn may face probe over Future Forward Party loan
Activist questions legalities of deal
published : 19 May 2019 at 20:17
writer: Mongkol Bangprapa
Activist Srisuwan Janya is planning to petition the Election Commission (EC) to investigate whether Future Forward Party (FFP) leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has broken the law for giving a loan worth over 100 million baht to his own party.
Mr Srisuwan said the EC should take up the issue as Mr Thanathorn risked breaking the political parties law.
He will call on the EC on Tuesday and press for a probe into the loan.
Mr Thanathorn told a forum at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on March 15 that he gave his party a loan of more than 100 million to help finance the election campaign.
He said there was no way the FFP could raise enough campaign funds in time for the March 24 election as the party was established only on Oct 3 last year.
For the sake of transparency, Mr Thanathorn said he did not wish to give “free money” so he lent it to the party which was open about the issue and made it known how the money would be spent.
In the party’s balance sheet, he is listed as the party’s creditor. However, Mr Thanathorn said he could not remember the exact amount of the loan which he said could be in the region of 105 million baht or 110 million baht.
Mr Thanathorn, a scion of the Thai Summit Group, an auto-parts conglomerate, stressed it was crucial to make the FFP’s finances strong enough to enable the party to stand on its feet and pay the money back to him.
FFP spokeswoman Pannika Wanich on Sunday explained conflicting figures about the amount of the loan. She earlier said the loan was valued at 250 million baht.
She insisted 250 million was an estimated figure for election spending. However, the party’s actual expenses was lower than the estimate.
Meanwhile, Chartchai Na Chiang Mai, a former charter writer, said parties cannot borrow money because they are not a juristic person or company engaged in commercial business.
Parties’ finances are mainly governed by Sections 66 and 125 of the organic law on political parties.
Section 66 bars any individual person from donating or giving money, assets or interests to parties in excess of 10 million baht a year. In case of a juristic person, the limit is set at no more than 5 million baht a year.
A juristic person or company giving or making such donation must inform shareholders at its assembly meeting after the donation is made.
Political parties are barred from accepting donations exceeding the amounts in question.