Thai Opposition moves to impeach cabinet

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BANGKOK, July 1 – Thailand’s Opposition lodged a petition today seeking to impeach the entire cabinet for allegedly violating the constitution in the handling of the 350 billion baht water and flood management projects.

Opposition chief whip Jurin Laksanawisit said the petition was submitted to Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanij Tuesday afternoon.

He said the cabinet’s actions on the Bt350 billion water management projects were deemed to breach the law, saying the median price and median price formula were not officially announced and that the bidding price collusion was likely.

The bidding process was likely to violate the Constitution and four other laws on anti-corruption, the environment and Section 157 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits state officials from doing something that may cause damage to the state.

After the complaint was filed, Mr Jurin said Senate Speaker will verify the documents and forward them to the Office of National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for consideration.

He said if the anti-graft committee finds sufficient grounds for the accusation, the entire cabinet must suspend their duty. The NACC will then forward the case to the Office of the Attorney General to consider whether to carry the case to court.

“I affirm that the impeachment move against the cabinet is not meant to obstruct the government’s attempt to solve the flood problem,” said Mr Jurin, but the projects “must proceed with transparency and in accord with the constitution and take the environmental studies and people’s quality of life into account.”

The opposition move came after the Central Administrative Court ordered the government to complete Environmental Health Impact Assessments (EHIAs) and to hold public hearings  on the projects before signing contracts with companies that have won bids.

The ruling was delivered less than a week after the government announced four bid winners, including the controversial Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water), for the heavily-criticised water project.