The high-ranking Election Commission (EC) is setting the stage to engage in both criminal and civil proceedings against a prominent member of the Move Forward Party, based on his participation in the May 14th election, despite having a previous conviction and serving time for theft under his belt. This information was relayed by none other than the chairman of the EC, Ittiporn Boonpracong.
Chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong examined the situation and detailed how the campaign of MP Nakhonchai Khunnarong, the representative from Rayong, directly contravened Section 98 of the constitution. This specific section outlines the eligibility criteria for those seeking parliamentary office and expressly forbids candidates with criminal convictions, subject to certain exemptions, from standing for election.
These guidelines stipulate that candidates who knowingly participate in a general election, being fully aware of their ineligibility, are actually breaking the law. This action could be seen as a direct breach of Section 151 of the MP election law. In accordance with Section 420 of the Civil and Commercial Code, this could also leave the candidate liable for covering any expenses during that time, Chairman Ittiporn explained.
The chairman further disclosed that the EC has taken note of the MP’s declaration of his intent to resign by week’s end. The chairman elaborated, “There are two legal matters involved here. Firstly, there’s the criminal offense pursuant to Section 151 of the organic law concerning MP elections. In addition, a civil lawsuit could be lodged to recover the cost of a by-election.”
It was last week when Nakhonchai, widely known as Ice Rayong, gave the news of his impending resignation. He also divulged that he had faced conviction in the past in a theft case and had spent a year and a half behind bars. This incident marked his life 24 years ago.
Nakhonchai’s transgression took place in October 1999 when he was just 20 years old. He recalled partying with some friends when he discovered a lady’s wristwatch on a table and decided to inspect it. As fate would have it, it was at that precise moment that the police made their entrance. Nakhonchai and a friend were detained. The friend admitted to stealing the wristwatch, however, Nakhonchai denied any wrongdoing. Nakhonchai said while they were at the police station, he unwittingly signed a confession. On account of this confession, he was sentenced to three years of imprisonment, but his sentence was halved.