Move Forward MP urges scrutiny of PM's utility bills

Move Forward MP urges scrutiny of PM's utility bills

Move Forward Party MP, Amarat Chokepamitkul, on Tuesday asked the Revenue Department to look into whether Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha included the utility charges for his official residence in his personal income tax declaration.

Ms Amarat handed a letter to the department's director-general yesterday, in which she urged the department to look at Gen Prayut's personal income tax filings from 2014, to see if the premier included his electricity and water bills -- which are paid by the army -- in his assessable income list.

The opposition lawmaker also urged the department to act if it finds any irregularities in the PM's declarations.

Gen Prayut has resided at an army house at the 1st Infantry Regiment base on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Bangkok since he became army commander-in-chief in 2010. He continues to reside at the residence, even though he officially retired as army chief on Sept 30, 2014.

As the army is paying for the premier's utilities, as outlined in a Constitutional Court ruling on the matter, Gen Prayut has to declare them as part of his assessable income, just like other benefits and bonuses, Ms Amarat said in the letter.

If Gen Prayut failed to include them under his list of assessable income, it means the premier has been paying less income tax than he was supposed to, which is a violation of the Revenue Code, Ms Amarat said in the letter.

On Dec 2, last year, all nine Constitutional Court judges cleared Gen Prayut of any wrongdoing for occupying the army residence after he retired from the army.

The issue was brought to the court by the opposition, who reported Gen Prayut for conflict of interest over his decision to stay in the residence as premier.

The court in its ruling said Gen Prayut did not violate the constitution and law by occupying the army house after retirement because he did not receive any special benefits.

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