Ex-Pheu Thai boss jailed for two years

Ex-Pheu Thai boss jailed for two years

Appeal over sale of monastic land fails

Former Pheu Thai Party leader Yongyuth Wichaidit leaves the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases, where he was sentenced to two years in prison for abuse of authority in connection with the Alpine golf course saga on Aug 29, 2017. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Former Pheu Thai Party leader Yongyuth Wichaidit leaves the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases, where he was sentenced to two years in prison for abuse of authority in connection with the Alpine golf course saga on Aug 29, 2017. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Former Pheu Thai leader Yongyuth Wichaidit will serve two years in jail after the Court of Appeal denied his request to appeal its ruling last year that found him guilty of allowing the sale of monastic land to make way for the Alpine golf course.

Corrections officials on Monday took Yongyuth to Bangkok Remand Prison after the judges decided not to forward the case to the Supreme Court.

“He will be treated under jail regulations without privileges,” prison chief Krit Krasaethip said.

A mandatory health check at the jail found Yongyuth is suffering from arthritis, a heart disorder and glaucoma.

Early last year, the Court of Appeal upheld a two-year jail term handed down to Yongyuth by the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases which ruled, in 2017, the 78-year-old defendant abused his power while serving as acting permanent secretary for interior.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission, which investigated the land sale, found Yongyuth at fault for cancelling a Land Department order that revoked the sale of 732 rai of monastic land owned by Wat Thammikaram to private firm Alpine Real Estate Co and Alpine Golf & Sports Club in 2002.

The Council of State, the government’s legal advisory body, deemed the sale illegal because it was monastic land, causing land officials to cancel the deal.

The land in Pathum Thani’s Klong Luang district was donated by a widow, Noem Chamnanchartsakda, to Wat Dhammamikaramvoraviharn in Prachuap Khiri Khan in 1971.

After her death, the Mahamongkut Ratchawittayalai Foundation, which was appointed executor of the estate, sold the land to Alpine Real Estate and Alpine Golf and Sports Club.

Youngyuth was found to have committed malfeasance and dereliction of duty under Section 157 of the Criminal Code.

He also ignored a recommendation given by the Council of State in contradiction of a cabinet resolution requiring all ministries to act in compliance with the state legal advisory body, according to the verdict.

Yongyuth’s claim he based his decision on the majority vote of a special panel he set up to look into the matter failed to convince the court.

His act led to a scandal surrounding the sale of the land and its development as a golf course and sporting club involving former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and ex-interior minister Sanoh Thienthong.


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