Yongyuth’s political post to be examined

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BANGKOK, Sept 26 – Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) was formally requested today to check the parliamentary qualifications of Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit after a decision by the Civil Service Committee (CSC) to dismiss him from the civil service for illegally endorsing the sale of monastic land to private real estate and golf club companies.

Submitting a letter to the EC on Mr Yongyuth’s behalf, Prompong Nopparit, spokesman of the ruling Pheu Thai party, said the request was to quell doubts among the opposition bloc and the public over the allegation.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) earlier ruled that Mr Yongyuth, concurrently interior minister, is not covered by exoneration as he has yet to serve the term of his punishment for illegally endorsing the sale of land owned by Wat Thammikaram to Alpine Real Estate Co and the Alpine Golf & Sports Club Co while assuming the position of deputy permanent secretary for interior.

The Interior Ministry’s CSC, in dismissing Mr Yongyuth from the civil service, announced that the order was retroactively in effect from Sept 30, 2002. There have since been arguments on whether or not Mr Yongyuth can retain his political post.

Meanwhile, Government House officials distributed a letter of clarification on the case from Mr Yongyuth to the media today. The letter insisted that the deputy premier is eligible for exoneration.