NACC targets Yingluck, Surapong over Thaksin passports

NACC targets Yingluck, Surapong over Thaksin passports

Surapong Tovichakchaikul holds a press conference at the Foreign Ministry on Nov 8, 2012 when he was foreign minister. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Surapong Tovichakchaikul holds a press conference at the Foreign Ministry on Nov 8, 2012 when he was foreign minister. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Impeached prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her ex-foreign minister could face serious new charges for giving her brother Thaksin back his passports four years ago.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission is working on a case against the former premier and her then-foreign minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and could have the investigation wrapped up next month, the agency said Friday.

In June, the NACC will meet to decide whether it will indict the pair or drop the case centred on abuse of authority.

The Foreign Ministry ordered on Tuesday the revocation of two passports for Thaksin Shinawatra after he made controversial comments in an interview in Seoul on May 24 that accused privy councillors of masterminding the 2014 coup.

The regular passports were returned to Thaksin in October 2011 by Mr Surapong, two months after he was appointed foreign minister in Yingluck's Pheu Thai Party-led government. The passports had been stripped by the previous Democrat Party administration.

Mr Surapong said that the decision was a ''new year's gift'' to Thaksin for inflicting no damage on the country while living in self-imposed exile, mostly in Dubai.

The former foreign minister said on Wednesday that he would do it again if he has a chance to return to power.

Wiwat Kalayasiri of the Democrats petitioned the NACCC in 2012 to take criminal action against the duo for the decision, as Thaksin is fugitive who jumped bail before the in-absentia conviction in the corrupt Ratchadaphisek land deal.

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division of Holders of Political Position sentenced him in 2008 for two years in jail for abuse of authority on helping his wife at the time, Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, seal the contract.

NACC member Narong Rat-amarit, who leads the probe, said he had directed investigators to quickly conclude the inquiry and resubmit findings to the agency.

The case had been forwarded to the NACC for decision, but the graft busters sent it back as more information was needed to complete the investigation.

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