Former Democrat Party MP Theptai Seanpong and his younger brother, Manoch Seanpong, were sentenced to a prison term of 2 years and political disqualification for 10 years after being found guilty of election fraud during the provincial administrative organization election in 2013 in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.
The Seanpong family is well-known among residents of Nakhon Si Thammarat province. The 61 year old Theptai has been the province’s MP for many years while his younger brother Manoch has been involved in local politics for a long time.
Manoch was elected chief executive of Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Provincial Administrative Organization in 2013. However, his rival, a former chief executive, Pichai Boonyakiat, filed a lawsuit against Manoch stating he fraudulently got elected into office. Pichai claimed that Manoch set up a feast and party for people in the province to court voters to win the election.
The issue was bought to the attention of the Election Case Division of the Supreme Court. The court investigated and found that Manoch had committed fraud according to the claim, gave him a red card*, and removed him from office until the court deliberated a sentence.
Pichai also filed a suit against Theptai, saying the MP was involved in his brother’s election fraud. Theptai was dismissed from his position on September 16 in 2020 and ordered to wait for the court’s judgment.
In January this year, the Constitutional Court removed Thepthai from his position, and yesterday, the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal announced a prison term of 2 years against the brothers and suspended their political disqualification for 10 years.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission office shared the assets and liability list of Theptai after both of them were withdrawn from their political positions. Theptai, together with his wife and child, have more than 920 million baht in assets.
He owns land in various provinces in Thailand, has 5 houses in Bangkok, and Nakhon Si Thammarat, 5 cars valued at 6.4 million baht, weapons, luxury watches from Patek Phillippe, Rolex, and other assets.
* If election fraud is reported, the Election Commission of Thailand has a right to punish the candidates using 4 different cards:
Fraud detected during the election
- If a Yellow card is issued, the election result will be null and void and another election is set up.
- If an Orange card is issued, a candidate is temporarily suspended from joining any political election for at least 1 year. This means the candidate will be dismissed from that election campaign immediately and have to wait for the next election.
Fraud detected after the election
- A Red card is issued if fraud is detected after an election. This card is issued by the Supreme Court and not the Election Commission of Thailand.
- A Black card is issued when the Election Commission submits evidence of fraud to the Supreme Court. A Black card means candidates are forbidden from all political activity for life.
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