Ex-Pheu Thai boss jailed for two years
Appeal over sale of monastic land fails
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 yesterday 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 examination at the prison found Yongyuth was suffering from arthritis, a heart disorder and glaucoma.
Early last year, the Court of Appeal upheld a two-year prison sentence handed down to Yongyuth by the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases which ruled, in 2017, the 78-year-old abused his power while serving as acting permanent secretary for the 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 guilty of having 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 actions led to the 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.