NACC resolves to press charges against 308 legislators

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BANGKOK, Jan 8 – Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has resolved to file charges against 308 of 381 former legislators for their unlawful roles in passing a proposed charter amendment on the composition of the Senate.

NACC member Vicha Mahakun said 73 former MPs and senators including caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra were cleared of charges.

Among them, 65 lawmakers did not vote for the bill in the first and second readings but exercised their voting rights in the third reading while eight others including Ms Yingluck had no role in proposing the bill, nor passing it on the third reading, he said.

NACC members voted 7-2 to dismiss charges against the prime minister and seven other people.

Another NACC member, Prasart Pongsivapai, said 293 of the 308 ex-MPs and senators voted for the bill on Constitution amendment in all three readings while 15 others jointly sponsored the bill.

The 308 lawmakers are due to formally acknowledge the charges at the NACC January 15-17 during which time they will be allowed to give full clarifications, said Mr Vicha, who promised to speed up handling the case.

The NACC earlier instructed former parliament president Somsak Kiatsuranont and senate speaker Nikom Wairatpanij to acknowledge similar charges on Friday.

Referring to a recent complaint that Mr Vicha and Pakdi Pothisiri should be excused from the case for fear of possible bias, the NACC disagreed and confirmed that the pair’s role would not be a breach of Article 46 of the charter as alleged.