EC to probe qualifications of nine cabinet ministers

The Election Commission will conduct investigation into the qualifications of nine cabinet minister of the military-installed government following a complaint by the Pheu Thai Party that they are disqualified.

EC chairman Supachai Somcharoen said the investigation by the EC was not to retaliate the government as some might have thought.

The investigation is to conform with the duty of the EC after the team of legal advisors of the Pheu Thai Party formally petitioned the EC about qualifications of the nine ministers.

The team led by Mr Ruangkrai Leekitwatana claimed these ministers hold shares in corporate companies that were awarded state projects and concessions.

EC chairman said the EC has appointed a probe team and will soon invite the nine ministers to give information on their shareholdings.

Besides, the EC will also seek information from the National Anti-Corruption Commission on the assets these ministers declared.

The process is time consuming, he said and reiterated that the action by the EC was not ton revenge the administration, as all the five-member board of the EC were ready to leave the job if the government-sponsored reform bill to restructure the election commission is passed by the National Legislative Assembly.

He said if the finding by the investigation team gains ground, it will be forwarded to the EC board to decide whether to pass on the finding to the Constitutional Court for final ruling.

The passage of the reform bill will see the termination of offices of all the five members of this independent state organisation, which under the existing law allows each member to stay for a 7-year term.

The nine ministers are Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Watanvrangkul, Foreign Minister Don Paramudvinai, Finance Minister Aphisak Tantiworawong, Digital for Economy and Society Minister Pichet Durongkaverote, Labour Minister Gen Sirichai Dittakul, Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana, Commerce Minister Sonthirat Sonthijirawong, and Deputy Education Minister Panadda Disakul.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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