Picture this: an illustrious career in the high-flying world of politics, a labyrinth of laws to navigate, and the heart-stopping moment when one misstep sends shockwaves through the hallowed halls of governance. That’s precisely the rollercoaster ride former transport minister Saksayam Chidchob embarked upon—a tale of concealed assets, nominees, and a tumble from power that gripped a nation.
It was on a quite ordinary Wednesday that the Constitutional Court dropped the legal bombshell that changed the game for Saksayam. In the hot seat for allegations hotter than Thailand’s summer sun, he faced the heat for using a front to camouflage his stake in a company cozying up to government construction deals. This court ruling wasn’t just any ruling; it came thundering down following a petition that saw a posse of opposition MPs rallying like a scene straight from a parliamentary western, spurred into action from a censure debate in July of the previous year.
Saksayam, the termed secretary-general of the Bhumjaithai Party, didn’t just have his hands full with his cabinet duties but also a ticking clock counting down his suspension. Dating back to March 3rd of the preceding year, upon the court’s receipt of his case, the chime struck and Saksayam found himself hanging mid-air in the balance of legal limbo.
The trapdoor sprang due to Section 187 of the constitution, akin to a guardian angel of governmental virtue. The law lays it down plain and simple: ministers and their better halves can’t double dip as shareholders in the commercial chess game. Should a minister fancy the fruits of stockholding, the loop for legal loophole jumps is a tight one, with a 30-day limit to declare interest to the National Anti-Corruption Commission and transfer shares to a safe house, an asset management firm.
The opposition—playing their role as the sharp-eyed sleuths of statutes—charged that Saksayam’s stocks stayed snugly in his pocket, untouched by the hands of asset management. Their charge sheet pleaded with the court to decipher his fate under the constitution’s unforgiving Section 170.
In an almost unanimous verdict, ringing in at 7:1, the Constitutional Court cracked the case wide open. They took the crumbs of incongruent statements and peculiar events and baked a pie of judgment saying that Saksayam’s connection to Burijarearn Construction didn’t just evaporate into thin air—he ran the show through his supposed stooge, Supawat Kasemsut.
The verdict sent Saksayam skidding into the dreaded legal dirt, slapped with a ministerial status termination retroactive to the day he was relieved from his duties. Yet the man himself, a picture of composure in the face of adversity, nodded to the court’s decision, biding time for the full text to strategize his next bold move in this political chess game.
And from the decks of the Bhumjaithai Party ship came a singular sound: the dropping of Saksayam’s titles. Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul echoingly announced the voluntary resignation of Saksayam as the secretary-general and MP, an act of deference to the judicial juggernaut’s judgement. Anutin made it crystal clear that while this quake shook Saksayam’s world, the Bhumjaithai Party’s foundations remain unscathed and unshaken, beyond the legal shockwaves of one man’s fall from grace.