Legal issues to cost Yingluck PM's seat

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - Just 18 months into her job as Thailand's first female prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra now appears to be facing some serious legal problems that could cost her the PM's seat.

Inconsistencies in her asset declaration and her government's decision to issue a new passport to her brother, fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, are two issues that have put Yingluck in a hot seat - leading to speculation that her sister Yaowapa Wongsawat is being prepared to step in.

According to Yingluck's financial statements submitted to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) when she became an MP and prime minister, her husband, Anusorn Amornchat, held 4.01 million shares in Ad Index Co Ltd. Each share was worth 10 baht. Yingluck also stated that she had loaned 30 million baht (US$1 million) to the firm in 2006, though there are no such loans in the company's records until 2007.

According to the statement, Anusorn held 10,000 shares of the firm on July 16, 2003, and gradually bought up more until he had 4.01 million shares on April 20, 2011.

Yingluck was named as Pheu Thai Party's top candidate on May 16, 2011.

Ad Index is based in the M Link Building on Sukhumvit Soi 62.

The second hot issue is her government's decision to issue a new passport for Thaksin.

Ombudsman spokesman Raksakecha Chaechai said yesterday that Yingluck had deferred providing an explanation about the passport for 30 days.

The Office of Parliament Ombudsman had earlier recommended that the Foreign Ministry review its decision to grant Thaksin a new passport on grounds of legitimacy. However, the ministry rejected the recommendation. The office then stepped up pressure on the PM to clarify why the ministry was not heeding its call.

Yingluck was meant to provide clarification on March 13, but the PM's Office told the Ombudsman that Yingluck would explain 30 days later.

Raksakecha said if Yingluck agreed with the Foreign Ministry's decision to not repeal Thaksin's passport, then the Ombudsman's Office would have to take up a complaint filed by New Politics Party leader Somsak Kosaisuk. Somsak questioned Yingluck's ethics as well as those of the foreign minister.

Raksakecha said apart from calling on the PM to revoke Thaksin's passport, the office had also recommended that the Foreign Ministry revamp regulations on travelling documents since it was outdated and allowed too much room for officials to exercise personal judgement. He said he believed Ombudsman Sriracha Charoenpanit would allow Yingluck to defer her explanation.

Alleged discrepancies

1) Yingluck states in her financial statement to the NACC that she granted 30 million baht in loans to Ad Index run by her husband, via three promissory notes:

October 6, 2006

20 million baht

March 9, 2007

5 million baht

March 13, 2007

5 million

2) Ad Index's financial records show in 2006 it did not borrow any money. Its 2007 record states it got 30-million baht in loans. Ad Index says the interest rates varied from 2.05 to 3.75 per cent per annum, but Yingluck informed the NACC that her promissory notes came with an interest rate equal to the fixed-deposit-account rate.

*US$1=29.5 baht

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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