By Thai Newsroom Reporters
HARD CASH HAS BEEN allegedly prepared at a house inside an army barracks as a payoff for certain coalition and renegade MPs in exchange for their votes in support of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and others on Saturday, said a Pheu Thai MP today (July 21).
During the third day of a four-day censure debate, Pheu Thai MP Wisarn Techathirawat said the kickback cash is being provided to those pro-government MPs again to help the premier and other cabinet members survive a no-confidence vote scheduled for Saturday.
During the censure debate, Wisarn displayed an enlarged picture of a driveway adjacent to a gas station on Vibhavadi Rangsit road and leading to the First Infantry Regiment premises in which the alleged payoff cash has been stored.
The major army unit locates the residences of Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda and Prayut.
Wisarn said the kickback cash, metaphorically referred to as “bananas”, has been allegedly prepared at the house called Pa Roy Tor which belongs to Prawit who concurrently performs as top leader of largest coalition partner Palang Pracharath Party.
The renegade MPs refer to a dozen MPs of Pheu Thai Party and Move Forward Party, both of which remain in the opposition bloc. Those renegade lawmakers have earlier cast their votes against partisan lines and may either vote for Prayut and other cabinet members alongside the coalition MPs or abstain from voting in Saturday’s post-censure, no-confidence vote.
According to the Pheu Thai MP of Chiang Rai, a range of one million to three million baht in hard cash would be secretly handed out to each of those coalition and renegade MPs in return for their yea vote in support of the premier and some other cabinet members targeted in the censure/no-confidence motion.
In addition to the embattled premier, the censured cabinet members include Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who concurrently acts as top leader of coalition partner Bhumjaithai Party, Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanavisit, who concurrently acts as top leader of coalition partner Democrat Party, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who concurrently acts as Bhumjaithai party secretary-general, Social Development & Human Security Minister Juti Krairirk, Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin, Digital Economy & Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn, Deputy Interior Minister Nipon Boonyamanee, Deputy Finance Minister Santi Prompat, who concurrently acts as Palang Pracharath party secretary-general, Prawit and Anupong.
During last year’s censure debate, Wisarn raised allegations that as much as five million baht in cash had been literally offered to a number of coalition MPs for each of their votes. The money was allegedly handed out in a room reserved for the premier behind the parliament chamber.
However, an ad hoc committee set up by House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to investigate the payoff scandal could not find evidence to substantiate it.
Pheu Thai MP Wisarn Techathirawat, top, and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Front Page. Top photo: Matichon, Front Page photo: INN News