BangkokPolitics

Deputy PM declares Thammanat Prompow controversy finished

PHOTO: Thailand's Deputy Agriculture Minister Prompao talks to reporters after a government cabinet meeting in Bangkok (via Reuters)

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says that the debate is over regarding Thammanat Prompow, the controversial Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives and influential Palang Pracharath Party ‘fixer’.

The Constitutional court has already ruled that he is qualified to hold office under Thai law and will keep his position, though a huge backlash followed the ruling, and the public wondered how his 1993 heroin trafficking conviction in Australia. Then using the name ‘Manat Bophlom’, he was convicted of conspiring to import a traffic able amount of heroin, serving 4 years of a 6 year sentence.

According to Wikipedia, Thammanat parliamentary declaration of assets in August 2019 listed “2 wives, 7 children, and a net worth of about $42 million, including a Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Tesla, and Mercedes-Benz along with 12 Hermès and 13 Chanel handbags, luxury watches, and Thai Buddha amulets.”

Thai law says that no one who has been convicted of an indictable offence is eligible to hold public office, but the new decision seems to imply that anything that happens outside of Thailand’s border does not qualify. A legal expert, the Deputy PM says that this ruling is not in opposition to the rules about convicts holding office.

He says that a conviction by Australia’s New South Wales Court is not legally binding in Thailand and therefore does not disqualify Thammanat. Only a jail sentence from a Thai court would be considered a roadblock to a candidate being confirmed to hold government office.

Thai immigration law, however, determines that convictions in home countries will bar people from entry into Thailand. The decision also calls into question the legitimacy of the Australian/Thailand extradition treaty which saw Thammanat deported back to Thailand after serving 4 years of his 6 year sentence.

But the Council of State had declared that someone in jail for 2 years cannot hold office within 5 years of release, regardless of whether the jailing was in Thailand or in another country. The 4 year jail term Thammanat served in Australia ended in 1997 so the 5-year grace period has already passed.

The Deputy PM says that this ruling by the Constitutional Court does set a new precedent for future issues of possible MP candidates that may have been in trouble with the law outside of Thailand. But he stopped short of supporting Thammanat’s prior conduct unconditionally, declining to comment.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has been under pressure to investigate Thammanat and whether his conduct has been ethical. The Deputy PM said that the Constitutional Court ruling does not whitewash any other issues Thammanat may face.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

17 Comments

  1. For DPM Wissanu to say that the Thammanat debate is over is almost like saying that anyone interested in Thailand’s future will immediately stop breathing. Who the hell does he think he is? Yesterday’s news reports more than made clear that very many Thais have despaired at the court ruling that gave this thug what was, in effect, a clean bill of health.

    I used to think that Wassanu was the only decent guy to remain in the PM’s inner circle, post-NCPO days, but now it’s clear that he too is prepared to grovel to his boss by attempting to put a stop to Thais and the rest of the world debating this disgraceful verdict.

    The debate within the governmental palaces may be over, but I can see the Thammanat controversy being far from over and helping to fuel further dissent against him, his bully-boy boss and the rest of the coalition circus.

  2. Constitutional Court ruling not covering Criminal Court ruling whatsoever.He commited crime in both countries ,however for obviously reason was not in Court in Thailand.Those who know a bit this story knows why…(official informations are in Court archives and anybody can have a look).BTW he can’t travel legally to civilized world anymore.

  3. This is taking the old regimental tie way to far and is major news worldwide.unlikely to impress potential foreign investors from anywhere during the due diligence period.

  4. @Mr cynic – Hear, hear. Rapidly degenerating into not merely a failed state but a totally devastated state. Investors, tourists and even maybe prospective ex-pats will soon be giving Thailand a wide berth.

  5. I just love comments like that @slugger. Such a shortsighted comment. If you don’t like injustice then leave. That’ll do the job. That’s the spirit to improve things. Stuck in the past so stay in the past. That will do so much to help the millions who are trapped in poverty. What a generous soul you must be to take such an attitude.

  6. The debate is over? Who said its over? One side.

    I know the Thai population has been beaten down a bit over the last few years but I don’t think they’ve been beaten into silence.

    This issue will arise again. Thailand has shown an ugly face to the world, and government protesters will keep the issue in the eyes of the public and foreign press.

    Thailand is losing face and will lose a great deal of face in the world.

  7. capt tammanant mp,by lying in parliament recently denying the conviction and serving a drug related jail sentence,threatening to take 100 person to court for defamation now admits it was him,yet by lying in parliament has broken the code of ethics and must be disqualified from office ,this is not over at all

  8. Hypocrisy thrives in this Thai government. Say something disparaging about someone or something, you get the Hammer. While conviction of drug trafficking and serving time in prison, you become a political STAR. But then with what Thais have put up with so far in their government, nothing surprises.

    .nothing surprises.

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