By Thai Newsroom Reporters
AN OUTSPOKEN MP today (Feb.18) reconfirmed the five-million-baht payoff scandal allegedly handed out to certain government MPs each in exchange for their vote in support of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha following last September’s censure debate.
During the second day of the censure debate in the House of Representatives, Pheu Thai MP Wisarn Techathirawat maintained his allegations that the bribe money was covertly handed out to each of those MPs in return for their vote of confidence for Prayut following the four-day censure debate.
Of the total five million baht, a sum of two million baht was given as the first batch with the balance to be paid at a later date by “Uncle”, Wisarn said.
“Uncle” might refer either to Uncle Tou, Prayut’s nickname, or Uncle Pom, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan’s nickname, according to the opposition MP of Chiang Rai.
Wisarn said two women, whom he only named as “Madam W.” and “Miss J.”, had discussed with each other the two-million-baht initial kickback which the latter was told to see to it that it be delivered to each of the alleged bribe-taking lawmakers. The alleged handout of the bribe money took place in the room only reserved for use by the prime minister at parliament, according to the MP of Chiang Rai.
An ad hoc committee was set up by House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to investigate the payoff scandal but Prayut never testified before the panel, prompting Chuan to conclude that there was no hard evidence to substantiate such allegations.
However, the opposition lawmaker contended that facts and figures pertaining to the scandal including the two women’s private discussion have been compiled by the House Committee on Corruption under chairmanship of Thai Liberal Party leader Seripisut Temiyavej and will be forwarded to the Election Commission.
The sensational payoff allegations were raised in the middle of the House chamber after a hush-hush plot allegedly orchestrated by ex-Palang Pracharath secretary-general Thammanat Prompow to have certain coalition MPs abstain from voting in support of Prayut had been unveiled and aborted.
A few days after Prayut had barely survived the no-confidence vote, Thammanat was ousted by the premier as deputy agriculture & cooperatives minister alongside Naruemon Pinyosinwat as deputy labour minister.
Top: Pheu Thai MP Wisarn Techathirawat.
Home Page: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Both photos: Matichon