Sukhumbhand to quit Bangkok governorship Tuesday
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra will submit his resignation Tuesday and it will take effect Thursday after he acknowledges charges of approving a BTS extension without due authority, according to Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.Abhisit said Monday Sukhumbhand's resignation would take effect a day before he completes his four-year term on Friday.
The governor decided to resign before completing his term so that the new Bangkok governor election would be held two months later to make the race fair to all sides, Abhisit added.
"We want the election to be fair without Sukhumbhand holding office," Abhisit said.
He said Sukhumbhand should have no problem contesting his re-election because the incumbent governor was not accused of corruption or malfeasance, but only of approving the BTS extension contract without due authority.
The Department of Special Investigation has summoned tomorrow Sukhumbhand, eight other executives of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and representatives of Krungthep Thanakom (KT) - BMA's investment arm - and the operator of the BTS Skytrain, BTSC - to face charges related to the extending of its BTS services.
The DSI alleged the BMA extended the BTS concession contract without first seeking approval from the interior minister, but the BMA argued that it simply hired the BTSC to operate the extended services without extending the original contract.
Abhisit said Sukhumbhand had consulted lawyers of the party on how to defend himself.
Abhisit said the Democrat Party was waiting to see who Pheu Thai would enter in the gubernatorial race -- and the party would not underestimate Sukhumbhand's rival candidate from the Pheu Thai.
Abhisit said the Democrats were confident in the performance and achievements of Sukhumbhand, so the party would ask for another chance from Bangkokians for Sukhumbhand to continue his work.
"We can't underestimate our rivals and we know that it is hard for us to retain our champion for a third consecutive time," Abhisit said.
Sukhumbahand was elected as Bangkok governor after Apirak Kosayothin, now a Democrat MP, stepped down four years ago.
BMA Deputy Governor Thirachon Manopaibul said he had Monday filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman, calling for an investigation into DSI chief Tarit Pengdit.
Thirachon alleged that Tarit had no authority to conduct an investigation into the BMA, KT and BTSC over the BTS service extension -- and Tarit had allegedly violated Articles 157 and 200 of the Criminal Code.
Thirachon denied the BMA had once sought the interior minister's approval for the Silom-Taksin Bridge-Bang Wa BTS route as claimed by Tarit.
The deputy governor said the BMA simply informed the interior minister that the BMA would reclaim its assets to facilitate the BTS extension.