Public prosecutors have asked the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to seek a new arrest warrant specifying the escape date of former culture minister Itthiphol Kunplome. The request aims to prevent the expiration of the statute of limitations in his condominium permission case in Pattaya.
Kosolwat Inthuchanyong, deputy spokesman of the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), said on Thursday that Khamnueng Wongthaweesap, region 2 executive director of the OAG, sent an urgent letter to the NACC secretary-general on Wednesday, asking the anti-graft agency to request a new arrest warrant for Mr Itthiphol and two other defendants.
According to Mr Kosolwat, the previous arrest warrants did not specify the date of their absence. The inclusion of this date is crucial due to its impact on the Corruption and Misconduct Procedures Act, so that anyone who evades the law is not entitled to benefit from the statute of limitations.
On Tuesday, the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases issued the previous arrest warrants because Mr Itthiphol and the two other suspects failed to report to public prosecutors for arraignment, as scheduled on Monday. This case revolves around the illegal permission for the construction of the high-rise Waterfront Suites & Residences project in Pattaya, granted in September 2008 when Mr Itthiphol was the mayor of the city. The 15-year statute of limitations of the case will expire this Sunday (Sept 10).
Mr Itthiphol, 50, faces charges malfeasance under Section 157 of the Criminal Code, which carries a prison sentence of one to 10 years.
The former Pattaya mayor was until recently the culture minister, having been appointed to the second cabinet of former prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in July 2019. He is also the younger brother of former Pattaya mayor Sonthaya Kunplome.
The NACC filed the case with the OAG on Aug 3, and the attorney-general ordered Mr Ittiphol's prosecution on Aug 30.
The Waterfront condominium project was built on two-rai (3,200 square metres) of land at the foot of Khao Phra Tamnak hill, adjacent to Pattaya Bay and Bali Hai Pier. The building has been ordered to be demolished due to its incomplete status.
The incomplete Waterfront Suites & Residences project stands next to the Pattaya Bay. (Bangkok Post file photo)