Probe urged over political nepotism claim
The Thai Sang Thai Party on Thursday asked the House committee on corruption suppression to investigate allegations that senators hired their relatives as assistants or as part of working teams.
Treerat Sirichantaropas, a party member, submitted a letter to committee chairman Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves calling for a probe.
The move came after the Internet Dialogue on Law Reform (iLaw) claimed last month that more than 50 relatives of senators filled seats on Senate working panels during 2019-2022. The state paid more than 2.3 billion baht for the senators and their assistants, iLaw said.
Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai defended the practice, saying such hiring was not illegal.
In the letter, Mr Treerat asked the panel to determine if the appointments were unconstitutional and against the moral ethics expected of senators.
Pol Gen Sereepisuth said the petition would be reviewed by panel members and if the practice was found to be illegal the committee would forward the issue to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
He said he thought the practice was not unconstitutional but inappropriate.
Pol Gen Sereepisuth said he would propose changes to the House regulations on the appointments of assistants or working teams and criteria regarding qualifications for senators' or MPs' assistants.
The committee will launch a similar probe against the MPs and suggest the number of assistants and senators should be reduced or the posts scrapped.
According to iLaw, a senator can hire one expert, on a 24,000-baht monthly salary, and seven assistants, each paid 15,000 baht.