Sipa director may sue after board terminates his contract
The director of the Software Industry Promotion Agency, Trairat Chatkaew, plans to sue the state agency's board, citing its lack of authority to terminate his contract over alleged failure to dedicate his full time to Sipa while attending a class at the National Defence College (NDC).
Meanwhile, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday summoned Trairat to question him on the case.
Trairat said before meeting with the NCPO that he believed he would be reinstated to the post after he explained the situation to the junta and Information and Communications Technology Ministry permanent secretary Methini Thepmani.
He said he would consult with the Central Administrative Court before deciding when to lodge the lawsuit.
According to Sipa chairman Supachai Tangwongsan, who held a separate press conference yesterday on the case, Trairat failed to comply with the agency's procedures before taking a class at the NDC.
He said Trairat had asked for ICT Ministry permission and Cabinet approval to take the NDC class and asked the Sipa board to acknowledged his attendance at the college. Supachai said that instead, Trairat should have asked for Sipa board approval first before asking permission from the ministry and Cabinet.
Trairat started taking the class last October.
Supachai added that the Office of the Auditor-General had found that Trairat's NDC attendance meant he was not dedicating his full time to Sipa, which might have violated his contract. It asked the agency to investigate, and it appointed a panel to probe the case, which concluded that Trairat's action had indeed made him unqualified for the post.
The AOG asked Sipa three times since February to look into the case, he added.
As a result of its own probe, the Sipa board passed a resolution on July 9 to terminate Trairat's four-year contract. He was appointed to the post on July 6, 2012, during the tenure of the Pheu Thai government.
Trairat denies that he failed to dedicate his time to Sipa and that under his leadership, the agency had contributed to the continued growth of the software industry's value. He said that if he could stay on in the post, he would be able to drive this growth further. He said the value of the industry grew by Bt3 billion to Bt4 billion last year to Bt90 billion.
Trairat said the board had no authority to fire him, given its lack of a quorum as the board's term expired last September 29.
The Sipa board currently has four members, namely Supachai, Wiwat Wongvaravipat, ICT permanent secretary Mathini, and Trairat. Earlier it had 11 members, who gradually resigned.
Supachai claimed that the board on July 9 had a quorum, given that by law its remaining members have authority to pass any resolution. Supachai, Wiwat and Trairat attended the meeting before Trairat had to leave the room, as the issue was related to him.
Supachai admitted that the board term expired last September but said the members had to stay on in their posts, as no new board members had been appointed to replace them.
While Trairat said he was fired because the board felt personally unhappy with him, Supachai denied this accusation.
Trairat has also sent a letter of complaint over this case to Mathini.