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Disqualified MP should return B8m services

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Disqualified MP should return B8m services

A lifelong ban from politics is likely to follow

Sira Janejaka will do his duty in parliament on February 16. The Palang Pracharath MP was disqualified on Wednesday by a Constitutional Court ruling. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

The Bangkok MP, who was disqualified by the Constitutional Court, has had to repay salaries and benefits worth around 8 million baht over the past two years.

Thai media reported on Friday that the House of Representatives finance department was calculating the amount that Mr Sira would have to return to the state coffers almost 33 months ago or from March 2019 to Wednesday.

The amount included Mr. Sira’s monthly salary of 113,560 baht, the monthly salaries of his seven assistants of 15,000 to 20,000 baht each, and the attendance fees and travel expenses of Mr. Sira.

The total is estimated at 8 million baht.

The court voted 7-2 on Wednesday to disqualify Palang Pracharath MP from Lak Si District after finding he had been sentenced to prison 26 years ago.

The ruling came into effect retrospectively as of the election day March 24th, 2019.

The immediate effect of the wasPPRP judgment would lose one vote and remain 116. A by-election must also take place within 45 days.

Section 98 (10) of the 2017 Charter prohibits any person found guilty by a final court judgment of certain crimes from standing for election as MP. The court found that he had “committed criminal offenses relating to property that were dishonestly committed under the Criminal Code,” one of the categories listed in this section.

The ruling had other implications as well.

Mr Sira would be barred for life from running for MP and reimbursing any benefits he received under Section 101 (6) of the MP Act 2010.

The leader of the party to which he belonged will also be punished for endorsing him as his candidate under party law. Uttama Savanayana was the chairman of the PPRP at the time.

In 1995, Mr. Sira was sentenced to eight months in prison by Pathumwan Court for fraud in a car purchase case, which was halved for his confession.

Mr Sira alleged that he later reached an agreement with the plaintiff (buyer) and paid him damages. Since fraud cases could be settled, the court closed the case, he argued.

The former MP also said he had not actually set foot in jail and was among those purged of guilt by the Royal Pardon Act of 1993 on the 50th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne.

However, the Constitutional Court found that the plaintiff never reached a settlement or withdrew the lawsuit. As a result, the Pathumwan Court dismissed the case after the deadline for appeal and the verdict became final.

The court also saw that the royal pardon law did nothing to change the fact that he had committed a crime.

Pol Gen Seripisut Temiyaves, leader of the opposition Seri Ruam Thai Party and chairman of the House Anti-Corruption Committee, was the first to question Mr Sira’s qualifications. The two, who sat on the same body, were known in parliament as sworn enemies. The former police chief later filed a petition against Mr Sira in the Constitutional Court through the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

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