Activist Veera Somkwamkid announced his intention to impeach members of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for disregarding a court order that required them to divulge details about their investigation into the luxury wristwatch saga involving Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon. Veera accused the NACC of defying the Supreme Administrative Court’s order in an interview, stating that the court had ruled that disclosure must be completed within 15 days of the order, which was passed on Friday, April 21.
The NACC reportedly chose not to reveal its probe’s details in a 5-to-1 vote on Wednesday, suggesting that they might need to consult the Constitutional Court for interpretation assistance. The commission cited the presence of several individuals’ confidential accounts in the case as the reason behind the decision and indicated that they might need the Constitutional Court’s opinion on how far they can go in terms of revealing details.
Back in December 2018, the NACC determined that there were no grounds for allegations that Prawit had falsely declared his wealth when he failed to include 22 luxury watches and rings in his list of assets. Prawit claimed that the items belonged to friends and had since been returned. Veera subsequently petitioned the Supreme Administrative Court, which granted the order for disclosure.
Veera, in collaboration with Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, chairman of Seri Ruam Thai’s policy steering committee and former election commissioner, intends to organise a campaign to collect at least 20,000 signatures, to initiate the impeachment process against the commissioners for failing to adhere to the order. On his Facebook page, Veera also claimed that the NACC, as an anti-graft agency, was disregarding the very law they are meant to uphold.
According to Veera, they will approach the Constitutional Court if there is no progress in the impeachment process. He added that they will also pursue other legal channels if the court rejects their impeachment bid, expressing hope that the court will be fair in handling the case.
Questions surrounding the case have dogged Prawit since 2017, and his explanation, as well as the NACC’s decision, have drawn widespread public criticism. Veera stated that his desire to impeach the NACC commissioners comes from his belief that they have neglected their duty and shown a lack of responsibility.
Critics have accused the NACC, which handles cases involving high-ranking officials, of being biased towards the government. Meanwhile, the commission has defended itself, stating that they have done its job within the legal framework and that its decisions were just, impartial, and legally sound.
Amid this controversy, the outcome of the impeachment process is uncertain, as are the consequences it could have on the commission and its members.
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