THE Finance Ministry is expected to set up a panel to pursue a civil-liability lawsuit against Surapong Seubwonglee, a former Infor-mation and Communications Technology (ICT) minister, due to damages caused by the amendment of a satellite concession contr
The former ICT minister is serving a one-year jail term after the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders ruled last month that he had violated Article 157 of the Criminal Code – relating to negligence of official duty – by approving an illegal change to the concession contract in 2004.
The contract amendment allowed Shin Corp, the parent company of Thaicom Plc, formerly Shin Satellite, to reduce its shareholding in Thaicom from 51 per cent to 40 per cent, easing Shin Corp’s financial burden while increasing the risk of foreign control of a Thai company that held a concession granted by the government.
Shin Corp was later acquired by Temasek Holdings of Singapore and renamed Intouch Holdings. Intouch is also the parent company of Advance Info Service or AIS, one of the country’s biggest mobile phone firms.
Surapong is the first minister in the former Thaksin Shinawatra Cabinet to serve a jail term.
Meanwhile, Warong Dechgit-vigrom, a former Democrat MP, said the panel responsible for a civil liability suit against former PM Yingluck Shinawatra over the rice-pledging scheme could face problems if the amount of civil liability is reduced to Bt35.7 billion from the previous Bt286 billion.
As well as the civil liability case, Yingluck also faces a charge of negligence for her oversight of the rice-pledging scheme.