Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai is at risk of losing his post over a Constitutional issue as the Election Commission (EC) reportedly agreed that his spouse’s undeclared stockholdings could be deemed illegal.
Don is among nine ministers mentioned in a petition filed with the EC last year by the Pheu Thai Party’s legal officer Ruangkrai Leekitwattana asking it to probe the holding of stocks by cabinet ministers. Eight cases have been considered by the EC and all ministers were cleared.
According to the initial report, the EC has unanimously voted that Don could be in breach of the constitutional ban against undeclared stocks being held by ministers, their spouses and children under legal ages.
Narirat Pramudwinai, Don’s wife, appeared to own more than five per cent of stock shares. This was not declared to the National Anti-Corruption Commission within 30 days of Don’s appointment as is required by Article 187 in the 2017 charter.
The law also requires that ministers must not benefit from holding stocks. Even declared stocks must be conveyed to legal persons to manage them at an arms distance from the parties.
Based on their initial finding, the EC is expected to submit a petition to the Constitution Court, which would be the final arbiter of whether Don had breached the constitutional requirement.
The EC president Supachai Somcharoen appeared surprised at a news report of their preliminary finding and declined to comment on the EC’s decision..
The 68-year-old retired diplomat was appointed to the junta-led Cabinet in 2014 as the deputy foreign minister before topping the ministerial post a year later.
He served since 1991 in ambassadorships to some of the most important countries and international organisations for Thailand’s interests, including the United States, China, the European Union and the United Nations.