By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THE ELECTION COMMISSION may be finally obliged to pay 64.1 million baht in compensatory damage with taxpayers’ money to an ex-Pheu Thai MP who has been mistakenly accused by the polling agency as a vote buyer, confirmed Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam today (Apr. 21).
The 64.1 million baht compensation plus interest will certainly be paid out of the agency’s pocket if the Supreme Court finally repeats its ruling which has lifted the vote-buying charges earlier filed against veteran MP Surapol Kiatchaiyakorn after he had won Chiang Mai’s Constituency 8 in the 2019 general election, according to Wissanu.
The deputy premier in charge of legal affairs said the Election Commission as a whole and none of its individual officials is being held accountable for the undue damage done to the reputation of the ex-Pheu Thai MP who had been denied the post-election MP status due to the erroneous accusations launched against him by the polling agency.
Nevertheless, Wissanu commented that no individuals at the Election Commission will be legally obliged to pay for the damage, though they may have evidently made such a damaging mistake only to leave the polling agency as a whole paying for it with taxpayers’ money.
But he said the Election Commission may sooner than later appeal that the Supreme Court review its ruling to the extent that it possibly be rescinded. Given the wrongful judgement on the part of the agency, Surapol has already been replaced as lawmaker via a by-election in the northern constituency.
The agency had mistakenly accused Surapol of perpetrating an attempted bribery by handing out 2,000 baht in cash to a Buddhist monk during his electoral campaign but the politician contended that the money was merely meant to buy some ritual ware at the temple on occasion of his 80th birthday anniversary which was finally deemed by court as irrelevant to an otherwise alleged bid to buy votes.
Surapol will very likely seek reelection under the Pheu Thai tickets in the same Chiang Mai constituency where he has earlier represented for eight times at parliament.
Veteran MP Surapol Kiatchaiyakorn. Top photo: Voice TV, Home Page photo: Naewna