Video recording questions accuracy of minutes of iTV shareholders' meeting

Video recording questions accuracy of minutes of iTV shareholders' meeting

Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat waves during a meeting of MFP MPs-elect and Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, at City Hall on June 6. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat waves during a meeting of MFP MPs-elect and Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, at City Hall on June 6. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Defunct media company iTV is back in the spotlight after a video recording of discussions during the annual shareholders’ meeting contradicted the official minutes.

The video was recorded by an iTV shareholder and parts of it shown by TV Channel 3 late on Sunday night.  It was recorded during the electronic annual shareholders' meeting, and drew an immediate and strong public reaction.

Controversy swirls around reported attempts to revive iTV to block Move Forward Party (MFP)  leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s bid to become prime minister, and relates to his alleged holding of shares in a media company.

MFP MP-elect Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn said he would step up his request that the delisted broadcaster clarify the matter.

“The minutes of the iTV shareholders’ annual meeting in 2023 do not match the video recording of the meeting shown by (Channel 3's) Khao Sam Miti television programme,’’ he said.

Mr Wiroj said on his Facebook on Sunday night, “ A main issue was a question raised by one shareholder 'Does iTV perform media tasks?', and Kim Siritaweechai, chairman of ITV who chaired the meeting online, answered clearly that 'As of now the firm does not do anything. It has to wait for the legal case to end'."  

"But the minutes of the annual shareholders’ meeting, signed by Mr Kim, state that 'Currently, (iTV) still operates in accordance with the company’s objectives, and submitted financial statements and corporate income tax as normal'," Mr Wiroj said.

Mr Wiroj cast doubt on the accuracy of the official minutes of the iTV shareholders’ meeting.

“iTV must clarify to society why the minutes of its annual shareholders’ meeting did not match the answer given by the chairman during the meeting. 

“Who ordered the minutes to be written like this? Who is the mastermind," the MP-elect asked.

Society must raise questions whether this amounts to falsifying the minutes of the shareholders’ meeting to politically persecute another person, so they face a criminal charge, and how other committee members will be held accountable for such action, Mr Wiroj wrote.

“iTV must urgently clear up lingering doubts. It cannot remain quiet. Doing so could be a violation of Section 216 of the Public Limited Company Act. This offence carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and/or fine up to one million baht,’’ he said.

MFP deputy spokesman Karoonpon Tiensuwan tweeted on Monday, thanking well-intentioned people for exposing “old power cliques’’ and their efforts to use all means to remain in power and serve the interests of themselves and those around them.

“It’s time for the truth, to hunt down and dig up all information and reveal those who pull the strings,’’  Mr Karoonpon said.

On Monday, Mr Kim, president and executive director of Intouch Holdings Plc, ordered iTV committee members to launch a fact-finding investigation into the minutes of the shareholders’ meeting.

Last week, Mr Pita said he had already transferred the 42,000 shares in iTV he inherited from his father to relatives, to pre-empt any attempt to revive the company and use it as political ammunition.

The leader of the election-winning MPF was confident there was nothing to disqualify him from serving as an MP or becoming prime minister at the head of a coalition government.

In a Facebook post on June 6, Mr Pita said he had recently transferred the iTV shares held in the estate of his late father who died in 2006, to his relatives to ensure he could be the next prime minister amid attempts to block him from taking office.

He said that in its 2018-19 financial statement, iTV was defined as a holding company, but in the two following financial statements, it was labelled a TV organisation.

iTV stopped broadcasting in 2007 and its licence was taken over by Thai PBS. It was delisted from the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 2014. It has not had any income from media activity for several years, other than small sums from a subsidiary that rented out broadcasting equipment. Its business registration remained active only because litigation over its concession fees was not yet concluded.

Mr Pita noted, however, that at an iTV shareholders’ meeting on April 26, one shareholder asked if it was a media organisation. “Was the question politically motivated?” the Move Forward leader wrote on Facebook.

The constitution prohibits a shareholder of a media organisation from running in a general election. Mr Pita's 42,000 iTV shares recently led to complaints challenging his eligibility to be an MP at the 2019 general election, to approve his party's candidates and to lead the next government.

The largest current shareholder of iTV is Intouch Holdings Plc. The major shareholder of Intouch is Gulf Energy Development Plc. Gulf CEO Sarath Ratanavadi is the country’s fourth richest person with a net worth of US$11.1 billion, according to the reputable Forbes Magazine.

Nareuwat Noppakhun, the head of the accounting department at Intouch, prepared and submitted the financial statements of iTV to the Department of Business Development between 2015 and 2022, Isara News Agency reported.

On June 9, the Election Commission  threw out all complaints related to media share ownership against the MFP leader, but would instead investigate whether Mr Pita applied to be a list-MP candidate despite knowing he might not have been eligible to run for a House seat. That would be a violation of Section 42(3) and Section 151 of the organic law on the election of MPs.

Kim Siritaweechai, chairman of ITV, left, answers a shareholder's question about whether whether the company still performs as a media outlet, at the annual shareholders' meeting on April 26. Mr Kim was heard in the video saying it did not. (Capture from Channel 3 Khao Sam Miti programme)

Channel 3's Khao Sam Miti news programme posts a clip of iTV shareholders' meeting on its Facebook page late on Sunday night.

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