Pheu Thai MP linked to bribery scandal

Pheu Thai MP linked to bribery scandal

Anurak accused of abusing 2021 budget

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has said there is weight to the allegation that Pheu Thai MP for Mukdahan Anurak Tangpanitanon was involved in a bribery scandal linked to the 2021 budget allocation of a government department.

The opposition MP stands accused of demanding bribes from Sakda Wichiansilp, director-general of the Department of Groundwater Resources, in exchange for not trimming the department's budget allocation.

The alleged offence took place when Mr Anurak served as a member of a House sub-committee reviewing the budget set aside for the department worth 1.2 billion baht. The panel sought to integrate the national budget, which required trimming some of the allocations.

NACC secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said the NACC's sub-committee looking into the alleged bribe claim has found there are grounds to the allegation against the MP.

Mr Anurak was found to have violated Section 149 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/5 of the anti-corruption law and committed a serious breach of the ethical code, according to Mr Niwatchai.

The NACC will directly lodge a petition with the Supreme Court against Mr Anurak for violating the ethical code and submit the findings to the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) to file criminal charges against the MP with the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

According to Mr Niwatchai, the NACC has cleared the Prachapiwat Party list-MP, Nanthana Songpracha, who was also implicated in the allegations.

In other corruption-related cases, the anti-graft agency has found against millionaire Prayudh Mahagitsiri who is implicated in alleged irregularities regarding two separate land grab investigations.

The businessman stands accused of aiding state officials in the illegal issuance of title deeds for state-owned land in Krabi's Muang district and Nakhon Ratchasima's Sikhiu district, said Mr Niwatchai.

He said the NACC has also found the former governor of Phuket Nirand Kalayanamitr and 10 others at fault over the alleged illegal issuance of land deeds for forest reserve areas.

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