Top Democrats face charge over donation to party
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) yesterday summoned Bangkok governor-elect Sukhumbhand Paribatra to hear the charge of breaking the law in the manner of his donation of his salary to the Democrat Party.
Pol Col Nirand Adulyasak, commander of the Special Cases Division 1 of the DSI, said Sukhumbhand was asked to report himself to the DSI on March 14 to hear the charge.
Nirand alleged that Sukhumbhand had violated Article 57 of the Political Parties Act, which required that a donation to a political party of a sum of Bt20,000 and more must be made via a non-transferable cheque.
But Sukhumbhand had the House Secretariat deduct the money from his salary to directly credit the account of the Democrat Party in 2008.
He made the donation this way on five occasions, amounting to a Bt100,000 in total, Nirand said.
He said the DSI did not intend to persecute Sukhumbhand by raising the charge after he had won the Bangkok governor election on Sunday.
He said the DSI was simply following proper procedure but it had delayed charging Sukhumbhand when he was busy campaigning for the election.
Nirand said Sukhumbhand, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and 46 other Democrat MPs had allegedly violated the party law by donating to their party this way.
He said the 48 Democrats had their salary deducted and credited to the Democrat Party account from 2008 to 2011. Abhisit alone made 21 donations through salary deduction, amounting to Bt15 million, Nirand said.
Nirand said the DSI would wait for the current parliamentary session to expire on April 20 before summoning 47 other Democrats to hear the charge.
He said he would be able to wrap up the case and submit an investigative report to DSI chief Tarit Pengdit in a month.
Violators of Article 57 of the Political Parties Act will be subject to a five-year political ban as well as three-year imprisonment and a fine.