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Chalerm details 'undeclared TPIPL donation'

Links Democrats and PM to Bt263 million, EC cash

The Democrats' alleged dealings with two large chunks of money was put under the spotlight for almost three hours Thursday, the first day of the censure debate.

Pheu Thai Party's Chalerm Yoobamrung detailed the party's involvement with Bt263 million from TPI Polene Plc and Bt29 million from the Election Commission.

Chalerm sought to link the money from TPI Polene (TPIPL) to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and concluded that the PM - deputy party leader at the time - intentionally violated the law by seeking to cover-up that the party received the money.

He alleged that Abhisit approved false account reports for 2004 and 2005 to the EC and filed false information.

Besides criminal penalties for Abhisit - if found guilty of such claims, the penalty for filing false reports to the EC could cause the Democrats to be dissolved, he said.

During the debate, Chalerm showed charts, cheque numbers and copies of accounting reports for the Democrat Party.

Later, Abhisit hit back, saying the party's accounting reports had been checked by auditors and processed according to the law.

Chalerm said from late 2004 to February 2005 - prior to the general election on Feb 6, 2005, Messiah Business and Creation, under Prachuap Sangkhao, received money from TPI Polene. The company then transferred the money through 75 transactions and 27 cheques to four groups of people. They were people close to Prachuap; Pradit Pataraprasit's sister and a person close to him; Niphon Bunyamanee's sister and people close to him; and Praporn Ekouru's sister and people close to him.

Pradit was then Democrat secretary-general, Niphon was then his deputy and Praporn was a Songkhla MP.

Chalerm linked the transaction to the Democrats by saying that evidence of a transaction in February 2005 was requested to a fax number at the Democrat Party.

He said the Democrats never reported the alleged donation to the Election Commission.

As an MP, Praporn said his sister's business had nothing to do with him. She was hired by Messiah promote TPIPL products.

Besides Prachuap, another key link between the money and the Democrats was Thongchai Kolsrichai, who is Pradit's cousin. Thongchai and his brother also received some of the TPIPL cash and he was a coordinator who told Prachuap to do things, Chalerm alleged.

To stress Thongchai's role in the Democrat Party, Chalerm referred to Thongchai's order for production of advertising props to Kerd Mek Advertising and Magnet Sign through Vasinee Thongjua. The party filed receipts from the two firms, worth over Bt2 million in total, to the EC.

In regard to the Bt29 million the Democrats received from the EC in 2005 as political development funds, Chalerm said the party hired Messiah to produce advertising props for Bt23.3 million.

Payment was made only once on January 10, 2005, Chalerm said. But on the next day, the money was transferred to some of the same groups who received money from TPIPL through Messiah. Meanwhile, Messiah issued receipts to Democrat Party, he alleged.

The party asked for a Bt10 million budget for billboards and Bt19 million for future board costs. However, the Democrats reported costs of advertising props for over Bt50 million to the EC that year, Chalerm said.

He questioned why TPIPL would hire Messiah, a small advertising company with Bt1 million registered capital and without an office of its own, would do eight big projects.

Chalerm also asked about the source of funds Messiah used to produce advertising props for the Democrats, before receiving money from the party.

He said the money circulating was none other than that received from TPIPL while funding from the EC was used for help "launder" the money.

Chalerm claimed Prachuap had said the advertising props were never produced. He said Prachuap decided to leak the information because he was bankrupt and did not have money to pay tax after issuing false receipts to the Democrats.

Thongchai had Prachuap signed blank papers for loans, he alleged

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