Former MPs imprisoned for proxy voting
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Former MPs imprisoned for proxy voting

Cabinet minister's wife among the three admitted to prison

Natee Ratchakitprakarn, a former list MP and the wife of the current Minister for Labour Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. (Photo: Parliament)
Natee Ratchakitprakarn, a former list MP and the wife of the current Minister for Labour Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. (Photo: Parliament)

The Supreme Court has rejected final appeals by three former Bhumjaithai Party MPs and sentenced them to nine months in prison, without suspension, for proxy voting during the 2020 budget bill debate.

The ruling was handed down by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders on Tuesday.

The court rejected the appeals filed by Chalong Thoetwiraphong, a former Phatthalung constituency 2 MP; Phumsit Khongmi, a former Phatthalung constituency 1 MP; and Natee Ratchakitprakarn, a former list MP and the wife of Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

In May last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the three former lawmakers deliberately breached ethics by allowing other MPs to use their electronic voting cards to vote on their behalf during deliberation of the budget bill in the second and third readings between Jan 10-11, 2020.

They were found to be in breach of Section 172 of the Counter Corruption Act and liable to a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or fine of 20,000-200,000 baht.

The Supreme Court sentenced them to nine months in jail each and revoked their political rights with immediate effect. The three were later released on bail of one million baht each while they appealed against the severity of the sentence for people their age. 

The court rejected their appeal, finding their argument untenable. The court ruled that a nine-month sentence, commuted from the original one-year prison term, was the lowest punishment the court could mete out in this case.

A majority of the judges agreed the three had performed their duties as lawmakers dishonestly, which justified refusing them suspended sentences. This would allow them time to repent in jail, and deter others from committing similar ethical violations. 

After the court ruling, Chalong and Phumsit were taken to Bangkok Remand Prison, and Natee to the Central Women's Correctional Institution.

Chalong Thoetwiraphong, a former Phatthalung constituency 2 MP. (Photo: Parliament)

Phumsit Khongmi, a former Phatthalung constituency 1 MP. (Photo: Parliament)


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