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Grounds for prosecution over charter-change bill: NACC

The National Anti-Corruption Commission announced yesterday there were grounds for pursuing charges against former Parliament president Somsak Kiatsuranont and his deputy Nikom Wiratpanij for their roles in attempts by the government to amend the composition of the Senate, thus violating the Constitution.

NACC member Wicha Mahakun said there was sufficient evidence that the two accused could be deemed to have performed their duties dishonestly, abusing their authority and violating the ethical code.

However, Nikom can still perform his duties as the NACC has yet to decide on whether the two will be indicted. They will be summoned by the commission

to acknowledge the charges on January 10.

The ruling, which was announced after the commission's meeting yesterday, involved six witnesses, documents from the Constitutional Court and Parliament, and evidence submitted by the parties who lodged the complaint, Wicha said.

The agency will conclude on January 7 whether it will file charges against the rest of 381 former MPs and senators, including caretaker Prime Minster Yingluck Shinawatra, who proposed the charter amendment draft.

Meanwhile the Constitutional Court, which earlier also ruled against the amendment, voted yesterday to reject petitions filed against the People's Democratic Reform Commission (PDRC) and the Democrat Party on whether they had violated Article 68 of the Constitution.

The court ruled that under the Constitution, the PDRC's protest rallies were an exercise in freedom of assembly and there were no grounds to suggest they were organised with the intention to overthrow a democratically elected government.

The petitions were filed by former senator Ruangkrai Leekijwattana and Pheu Thai Party members.

The court also plans to rule on a petition filed by former Democrat MP Wiratana Kalayasiri, which states that the amendment to Article 190 passed by Parliament on January 8 violated Article 68 of the charter.


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