The Move Forward Party (MFP) is considering legal action against people involved in alleged attempts to revive defunct media company iTV so they can use it to prevent party leader Pita Limjaroenrat becoming prime minister.
MFP secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon said on Monday that a video taken taken during the iTV online shareholders’ meeting in April contradicted the official minutes, providing crucial information about attempts to revive delisted iTV and portray it as an active media organisation.
Mr Pita inherited 42,000 shares in iTV from his father, but says they have all been transferred to relatives' names and do not affect his eligibility to serve as an MP or prime minister. His political opponents disagree. If they can show iTV is an active media organisation, Mr Pita could be banned.
The video showed Mr Phanuwat Kwanyuen, a shareholder, raising the question, “Does iTV perform media tasks?’’ and Kim Siritaweechai, chairman of ITV who chaired the online meeting, answering clearly that "As of now the firm does not do anything. It has to wait for a legal case to end."
However, the official minutes of the April 26 general meeting state that, “Currently, iTV still operates in accordance with the company’s objectives, and submitted financial statements and corporate income tax as normal".
On May 10, political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana submitted the minutes as a main item of evidence in petitioning the Election Commission to investigate Mr Pita over the shares, Mr Chaithawat said. iTV was founded in the 1990s and went off air in 2007.
The MFP secretary general said that before Mr Ruangkrai petitioned the commission, Nick Saengsirinavin, a failed Bangkok election candidate of the Bhumjaithai Party, made a relevant post on his Facebook on April 24 , two days before the iTV general meeting.
Mr Nick said, “A politician who holds iTV shares is preparing to attend the annual shareholders’ meeting and he must surrender to the EC. One party leader holds 42,000 shares.''
Mr Phanuwat, a shareholder who had received shares transferred from Mr Nick and served as the manager of a clinic run by Mr Nick’s family, had subsequently ask his question at the iTV shareholders’ meeting.
“That question was raised with the purpose of getting an answer from the iTV executive that the firm still operated as a media organisation, wasn’t it?’’ the MFP secretary-general said.
Mr Chaithawat asked Mr Kim, who signed the official minutes contradicted by the video clip, and Mr Jitchart Musikabutr, a company representatives who examined and editted the minutes, to clarify the matter.
Mr Jitchart served as chief legal officer and secretary of Intouch Holdings Plc, the major shareholder of iTV, said Mr Chaithawat.
“This raises a question whether Intouch Holdings is aware of changes in the official minutes that contradict the facts at the meeting,’’ he asked.
Those issues coincided with Mr Pita’s comments earlier about attempts to revive the defunct media company as a means to attack him politically.
The party was considering taking legal action against those those involved, Mr Chaithawat said in response to reporters' questions on Monday.
iTV submitted its financial statement to the Department of Business Development on May 10, four days before the election and the same day Mr Ruangkrai petitioned the EC, said Mr Chaithawat. In its financial statement, iTV was defined as a TV organisation.
In its 2018-2019 financial statement, iTV was defined as a holding company but in two following financial statements it was defined as a TV organisation.
The change in the financial statements also contradicted another answer given by Mr Kim during the shareholders’ meeting on April 26 when one shareholder asked whether iTV would give dividends to shareholders.
Mr Kim said in the clip that the outcome of the legal case was the most crucial point of the company. If the results were not known, it was hard to proceed with anything. Previously, the firm had hired financial consultants to study options but had not yet found a suitable outcome. It had to await for the court case to end before considering a suitable option for shareholders.
Mr Chaithawat said Mr Kin’s remarks made during the meeting showed that the executive chairman did not know that iTV operated as a television organisation and had income from advertising.
The MFP secretary-general asked why iTV’s financial statement submitted to the department on May 10 claimed income was from its television media.