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PM Prayut accused of cash bribes to MPs for censure support

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: PM Prayut faced accusations of cash bribes in the censure debates today.

On the third day of the censure debate in Parliament, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha responded to charges that he gave cash bribes to MPs to secure their support to vote in his favour at the end of the debate. Pheu Thai MP Visarn Techateerawat levelled the accusation, saying that in a third-floor room of the parliament building PM Prayut met privately with a group of MPs for a meeting, during which he allegedly handed over 5 million baht payments to each of the MPs to bolster their support.

MP Visarn derided the actions he accused the prime minister of with a vitriolic outburst on the floor of the hearing.

“This is outrageous! This corruption! Just because he wants to stay on in his position, MPs are receiving five million baht each from him in his room. Is this possible in Thailand?”

The House Speaker was requested by a number of Palang Pracharat MPs to order MP Visarn to retract his accusation of bribes, but the Speaker said only that PM Prayut has been implicated and will have his chance to respond.

Pheu Thai members requested that officials immediately procure all CCTV footage from the third floor in hopes to witness what occurred. An MP alleged that he heard rumours that someone would attempt to hide footage by tampering with the CCTV system.

On the other hand, Palang Pracharat MP Veerakorn Kamprakob said that he was in attendance at the third-floor meeting in question and he assured that he did not witness any money changed hands. PM Prayut insists that the meeting was merely a visit from supportive MPs him words of encouragement and did not involve and bribes. He said he would not be stupid enough to get caught up in a scandal like the snack bag incident of 2008.

In that scandal, a lawyer representing then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra gave a paper bag he said held cookies to a court official that was later revealed to hold 2 million baht in 1,000 baht notes. The bag of money was returned and the lawyer claimed he just mixed up bags.

Over the course of the censure debate, PM Prayut and other cabinet members defended themselves against accusations regarding embezzlement from Covid-19 funds, failing to join the COVAX program and their general bumbling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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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.

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