Pian gets green light for election

PHUKET TOWN: The Phuket Election Committee (PEC) has dismissed a complaint against mayoral candidate Pian Keesin, allowing him to stand in the Patong mayoral election on February 8. Kittipong Thiengkunagrit, Director of the PEC, told the Gazette today that the PEC had carefully considered the complaint, lodged on January 19 by rival candidate Songserm Kepsap. K. Songserm presented the PEC with a copy of a confidential letter from the Interior Ministry’s Local Administration Department, ordering K. Pian to pay the government 51,869 baht after K. Pian – who was mayor at the time – allegedly bought garbage trucks for the municipality at above-market prices. The PEC has ruled that K. Pian can run in the election, however, because he has not been found guilty of corruption while holding public office. In his complaint, K. Songserm referred to section 45 of the Local Election Act of 2003 and Issue 12 of the Municipality Act of 2004, both of which bar candidates found guilty of corruption from standing in elections. “K. Pian was never dismissed from his duties as mayor because of corruption,” explained K. Kittipong. “He has also not been found guilty of benefiting personally from the bidding on the garbage truck supply contract.” K. Kittipong pointed out that the Office of the Auditor General can order local government figures to reimburse the government in cases where they pay inflated prices, but that only the National Counter Corruption Committee (NCCC) has the authority to judge whether or not corruption is involved. K. Pian’s case is still under consideration by the NCCC, so the PEC must consider him innocent of the charges until proven guilty, K. Kittipong explained. “I don’t know if [the complaint] is a political game,” he added.

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