The National Anti‑Corruption Commission (NACC) on Thursday rejected a petition by the Move Forward Party (MFP) calling for a probe into the ethical conduct of Thamanat Prompow over his narcotics conviction in Australia.
NACC secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said the inquiry panel looking into the petition decided to reject it.
Mr Niwatchai said the decision was made based on the Constitutional Court's ruling on May 5 that Capt Thamanat, a Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) MP for Phayao and former deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister, was eligible to hold his MP and ministerial positions despite having served four years in an Australian prison.
Reservations were expressed by the public when the story of his incarceration in 1993 for a drug offence first broke. The ruling was in response to a petition submitted by 51 MFP lawmakers over his cabinet appointment.
In its ruling, the court said that for a jail sentence to affect Capt Thamanat's positions under the constitution, it must be handed down by a Thai court, not a foreign one.
Mr Niwatchai also said the case took place before Capt Thamanat held the positions and before the code of ethics took effect. A probe into ethical conduct can be launched only when an MP or cabinet minister violates the code of ethics while in office, he said.
Any action committed by an MP or minister before they took office does not warrant an inquiry, Mr Nitwatchai said.