Former interior minister faces graft charge

Former interior minister faces graft charge

Then Pheu Thai Party leader Charupong Ruangsuwan (right) welcomes Somsak Thepsutin, who led about 10 members of the Bhumjaithai Party’s Matchimathipataya faction to apply for membership on Dec 17, 2013. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Then Pheu Thai Party leader Charupong Ruangsuwan (right) welcomes Somsak Thepsutin, who led about 10 members of the Bhumjaithai Party’s Matchimathipataya faction to apply for membership on Dec 17, 2013. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has found grounds to charge former interior minister Charupong Ruangsuwan with accepting gifts of excessive value.

Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, secretary-general and spokesman for the NACC, said on Monday the commission resolved on Feb 2 that Mr Charupong had violated Section 103 of the anti-corruption law when he demanded a private firm pay for airline tickets with combined value of almost 60,000 baht.

According to the NACC's findings, the air tickets were for trips to China in 2012 and to Malaysia in 2013 and paid for by East Water Resources Development and Development Plc.

Since there was no connection between Mr Charupong and the firm in question, the air tickets were deemed as gifts under the anti-corruption law which prohibits state officials from receiving goods or services worth more than 3,000 baht.

Mr Niwatchai said the case against Mr Charupong has now been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) with the recommendation that he be indicted.

The offence is punishable by fine of 30,000 baht, a three-year jail term or both.

Mr Charupong was the interior minister and the Pheu Thai Party leader from 2012 to 2014.

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