'No action yet' on PAO chairman
text size

'No action yet' on PAO chairman

Pathum Thani mulls how to handle Pheu Thai candidate

Charn Phuangphet (photo from his Facebook account)
Charn Phuangphet (photo from his Facebook account)

Pathum Thani provincial authorities will adhere to the Interior Ministry's instructions and the legal advice of the Council of State (CoS) when handling the controversy surrounding the provincial administrative organisation (PAO) chairman.

Governor Passakorn Bunyaluck said on Saturday that no actions have been taken at this point because the Election Commission (EC) has yet to endorse the election result, in which Charn Phuangphet won the PAO chairman contest last Sunday.

"As the supervisor of local administrative bodies, I will proceed in accordance with the Interior Ministry's instructions, regulations, and the opinions of the CoS," Mr Passakorn said.

Mr Charn, a candidate from the Pheu Thai Party, won the local poll on June 30 amid widespread scepticism due to an ongoing malfeasance trial related to his past tenure as PAO chairman over a decade ago.

The Region 1 Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases suspended Mr Charn, who was then the PAO chief, when it accepted the case brought by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in 2012.

The CoS said the suspension is necessary as Mr Charn still faces trial, while the Pheu Thai Party argued that a new court order would be required if Mr Charn were to be suspended from his position as Pathum Thani PAO chairman.

A senior source within the Interior Ministry mentioned on Friday that the governor was prepared to issue a suspension order as soon as Mr Charn assumed office.

This action aligns with a memo issued in April this year outlining the procedures to be followed when local political office-holders are formally accused of wrongdoing by the NACC.

According to the memo, upon the court accepting the case, the accused must cease their duties and promptly report the matter to the governor or district chief.

Failure to comply may result in an inquiry and potential removal from office.

Meanwhile, Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, a law lecturer at Thammasat University, said on Saturday that Mr Charn was eligible to contest the post because the court has not yet issued a ruling in his case.

He noted that the CoS has provided legal advice regarding cases similar to Mr Charn's since December 2022, when elections for local administrative bodies were held across the country.

"However, did the electoral agency inform him that he might not be able to perform his duties even if elected, considering similar cases in the past? And did Pheu Thai know about the CoS' advice?" he asked.

Do you like the content of this article?