Ailing former minister, aide held at prison

national June 10, 2016 01:00

By THE NATION

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FORMER AGRICULTURE minister Chucheep Hansawat and his then-secretary Withaya Thienthong had their breakfast in detention yesterday, Bangkok Remand Prison chief Ayut Sinthoppan said.



On Wednesday, Chucheep and Withaya were sentenced to six years imprisonment for malfeasance and bid rigging in the procurement of fertiliser worth Bt300 million in 2002.
Ayut said both were made to undergo physical check-ups at the Medical Correctional Hospital as they are both more than 70 years old and suffering from several chronic illnesses, particularly high blood pressure. 
He said he was waiting for a doctor’s decision whether the men should be transferred to the hospital. They are currently being detained in the prison’s nursing section. 
Ayut added that both detainees received several visitors yesterday. Since the prison only allows visits once in the morning and once in the afternoon, visitors were told to show up at the same time. 
He added that there had been no problem managing the situation because the prison did not provide special privileges to former politicians or government officials who are incarcerated. 
The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders found both of them guilty of violating Article 157 of the Criminal Code and Article 17 of Offences Relating to the Submission of Bids to Government Act 1999.
The Attorney General filed a lawsuit on March 31, 2015, against Chucheep 72, who was once an executive of the nowdefunct Thai Rak Thai Party, and Withaya Thienthong, 75, a former Thai Rak Thai MP. 
The Court said the defendants failed to check irregularities in the bidding even though the Agriculture Ministry's permanent secretary had called on them to suspend the procurement and check corruption allegations.

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