Former Transport Minister Saksayam found guilty in shares concealment case

Photo courtesy of The Nation

The Constitutional Court has declared former Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob guilty of concealing his shares and ownership in a construction company that scored numerous projects from his own ministry, with the ruling of a 7-1 vote.

According to the court, Saksayam’s ownership of Buricharoen Construction Co Ltd was confirmed, as alleged by 54 opposition MPs. One judge, Wiroon Saengthian, was notably absent, and Judge Udom Sitthiwirattham stood as the lone dissenter in favour of Saksayam.

The court’s decision retroactively terminated Saksayam’s role as Transport Minister from March 3 last year. The allegations surfaced during a no-confidence debate against then-Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government, where the opposition claimed Saksayam employed a nominee to run the construction company, securing projects from the Transport Ministry without addressing potential conflicts of interest.

Despite the verdict, no political ban was imposed on Saksayam. The 54 opposition MPs sought his disqualification as a Cabinet member, and the court, in turn, validated their claim under the charter’s Article 82.

The MPs petitioned then-House speaker Chuan Leekpai, leading to the case reaching the Constitutional Court. Saksayam, however, will face no additional penalties beyond his retroactive removal. Yet, political observers anticipate further legal challenges, speculating that the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) might pursue a political ban and the seizure of assets tied to the construction firm for breaching the code of ethics for political officeholders, reported The Nation.

Saksayam, a member of the powerful Chidchob family from Buriram province, and brother to Bhumjaithai Party’s patriarch Newin Chidchob, emerged from the court yesterday, January 17, with a stoic expression. Addressing reporters, he accepted the ruling, expressing his readiness to comply upon receiving the official verdict.

When questioned about the potential impact on his political future, Saksayam remained non-committal, stating he needed to review the official verdict before briskly walking away from the media frenzy.

In related news, the Constitutional Court has slated January 31 to give its ruling in the case against former Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat and the party itself.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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