House panel to consider petition in PM's aide misconduct
published : 7 Apr 2022 at 18:26
The House committee on corruption and misconduct prevention and suppression on Thursday agreed to look into a petition requesting an investigation into alleged misconduct by Seksakol Atthawong, an aide to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The move followed the release of an audio clip suggesting Mr Seksakol may have a vested interest in the government's lottery ticket quota.
Both Mr Seksakol and Jureeporn Sinthuprai, a member of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, had admitted that the voices on the leaked audio clip were theirs.
However, Mr Seksakol dismissed the allegation, saying the conversation was intended as a joke, and part of it was doctored to discredit the government.
The audio clip was posted on Facebook on Sunday by a well-known lawyer Sittha Biabangkerd. It was a phone conversation between a man and a woman.
In the conversation, a man was telling a woman that he took 15 million baht from another man and used it to finance an election campaign. He also told her that he was not aware that this person had something to do with lottery quotas.
He said the problem is the police working on solving overpriced lotteries were going to arrest the man. If that were allowed to happen, this person could expose him for taking his money.
The petition was submitted by Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, a former election commissioner, who accused Mr Seksakol of violating the organic law on the election of members of parliament, dereliction of duty and breaking the code of conduct of politicians.
A transcript of the conversation was attached to the petition.
Mr Somchai, who is a member of the opposition Seri Ruam Thai Party, said a similar petition will possibly be submitted to the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Election Commission later.
Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, Seri Ruam Thai leader in his capacity as chairman of the House committee, said the committee will next find out if Mr Seksakol had exceeded the maximum election campaign spending allowed in the 2019 election.
Each party was at that time allowed to spend at most 35 million baht on election campaigning while each election candidate could spend at most 1.5 million for the same purpose, he said.
Pol Gen Sereepisuth said he suspected Mr Seksakol had violated sections 149 and 157 of the Criminal Code, which deal with bribery committed by state officials and dereliction of duty respectively.
Gen Prayut, meanwhile, said he had no objections to the House committee’s decision to probe his assistant.