The Criminal Court on Thursday dismissed a malfeasance lawsuit against former Constitutional Court president Kramol Thongthammachart and 12 former judges related to the issuance of a regulation to give themselves a meeting allowance increase.
The Criminal Court reasoned that Kramol and 12 former Constitution Court judges had no intention to harm the country and had promptly returned the money.
Kramol and 12 former judges were charged in the court on December 26, 2011 for violating Article 157 of the Penal Code in allegedly abusing their authority to give themselves a meeting allowance.
Charged along with Kramol were Jira Boonphojanasunthorn, Jumpol na Songkhla, Phan Chantharaparn, Mongkol Sradan, Manit Witthayatem, Sak Techacharn, Sujit Boonbongkarn, Sutee Sutthisomboon, Suwan Suwanwecho, Suwit Thirapong, Saowanee Assawaroj and Urai Wangomklang. Another former judge, Preecha Chalermwanit, was also charged but the suit against him was dismissed following his death.
The judges were accused of issuing a regulation to give themselves a monthly meeting allowance rather than allowances on a case-by-case basis. Following the enactment of the regulation, the judges received a meeting allowance from July to September 2004 of Bt60,000 each.
The court ruled that the judges had no authority to give themselves any pay increase because this would require a bill enacted by Parliament.
However, the court opined that the judges were not aware that they did have the authority to issue such a regulation. The court also noted that during a meeting to consider the draft regulation, representatives of the Budget Bureau and Comptroller’s General Department did not raise any objection.
The court said after the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Office ruled against the former judges as requested by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the former judges cancelled the regulation and returned the money.
As a result, the Criminal Court considered that the former judges had no intention to commit any wrongdoing.