Thaksin's Proxies, ex-PM Samak and ex-FM Noppadon, Indicted
( Last edit 2009-10-01 )
The national anti-graft agency on September 29, 2009 indicted ex-PM Samak Sundaravej and his foreign minister, Noppadon Pattama, [both from People's Power Party, the direct proxies of Thaksin Shinawatra], of malfeasance in connection with their Cabinet's decision to endorse Cambodia's move to seek a World Heritage listing of Pra Vihar Temple.
The NCCC spokesman Klanarong Chantik and Mr.Wichai Wiwitsewi, both NCCC members, announced the resolution to indict Samak and Noppadon which followed the facts that: On June 17, 2008, the cabinet led by Samak Sundravej, the PM then passed a resolution to endorse the joint communique, under provision of Noppadon Pattama the FM then, between Thai-Cambodia to support a unilateral listing of Pra Vihar temple with Unesco's World Heritage Committee;
On June 27, 2008, the Administration Court ruled that neither the cabinet nor the FM may not use such resolution dated June 17, 2008. Later, the Administration Supreme Court ratified the ruling.; The Constitution Court rules that such joint communique falls into the category of an international agreement which is subjected to be ratified by the parliament; Although there may not be obvious matters which relate to the alteration of the country's territory, the whole document is risky and highly sensitive to affect Thailand's territory which may further international disputes; Moreover, the Constitution Court also sees the relationship of Cambodian's unilateral listing of Pra Vihar temple with Unesco's World Heritage Committee and the lengthy historical disputes about the territorial border as well as social and political issues. Since Mr.Noppadon had negotiated with Cambodia before signing the joint communique, therefore, it is foreseeable that the signing would psychologically breach the citizens of the two countries as well as it would spark crises in international relationship which may extensively affect social stability.
The National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) ruled by 6:3 vote that Samak and Noppadon had intentionally bypassed the Parliament when entering into a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia last year over the listing of the ancient Khmer ruins with Unesco's World Heritage Committee.
THE NATION's TRAITORS: NCCC found grounds to believe that ex-PM Samak and ex-FM Noppadon were deliberately responsible for backing Cambodia's efforts with possible motives of compromising Thailand's territory.
NCCC will refer the case to the Office of the Attorney-General, before it is filed to the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders for further legal action against former prime minister Samak Sundaravej and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama.
A total of 44 people were named as the accused in the petition filed with the NCCC who resolved not to indict including other 25 members of the Cabinet who were part of the cabinet meeting when the cabinet resolution was reached. The other ministers were found innocent on the ground that they were informed of the move only on that day during the meeting and they had not "intentionally" committed the offence, Klanarong said. The NCCC has also cleared six bureaucrats who were previously accused in the case.
Under Article 190 of the Constitution, the government is obliged to seek the Parliament's approval on the framework to negotiate any international agreement when it has ramifications with regard to borders. Based on the Constitution Court's ruling last year, Samak's government failed to comply with Article 190 and Noppadon was disqualified from his position as Foreign Minister.
Mr.Klanarong revealed further about ex-FM Noppadon that Noppadon, the FM then, was carrying out the signing of the joint communique in a stealthy manner. Together with other evidences, it indicates that Noppadon had some other concealed motives. Evidences also indicate that Noppadon was aware of the high importance of the matter beyond the decision of the administration alone, to deserve scrutiny from the parliament, as well as the potential damages which may risk the territoial boundary of Thailand and social effects. When considering the political status of Noppadon as a Foreign Minister under Royal reliance, who must already have possessed clear understanding of such risks, it is obvious that Noppadon knowingly and unduly committed the acts or inacts in order to damage to the country and all Thais. Noppadon, therefore, is considered to have violated article 157 of the Criminal Code.
As for Samak, being the head of the government, he must have possessed the awareness of highly sensitive issues which may risk the territoial boundary of Thailand and social effects. Samak himself actually requested Noppadon to help out Somdej Hunsen in the [Cambodian general] election on July 27, 2008. Despite of Royal reliance, it is beyond any expectation that there was such trading off of one's own national interests for doing a favour to help campaigning of a foreign nation's political party as carried out by Samak, the PM then. Therefore, Samak is considered to have conspired to violate the laws.
Mr.Klanarong elaborated further that the 6:3 vote was also for dismissal of Samak and Noppadon from their PM and FM posts, according to article 270 of the Constitution. The cases are going to be filed to the Senate House Speaker for further processes. Why the rest of the cabinets, 25 in all in the meeting, were acquitted by NCCC is because they lacked of intention to commit the wrongdoings with Samak and Noppadon. The matters presented in the cabinet meeting by Noppadon were of technicalities and academic details. It was only through Noppadon's and Samak's explaination in a short time during the cabinet meeting, which was possible for the rest of the ministers to receive the information. Therefore, they should not have been aware of enough facts and the risks to the territorial boundary and the national security. As for the other 5 bureaucrats, the NCCC sees no intention to join Samak's and Noppadon's wrongdoings, as there was no evidence that these bureaucrats were aware of Samak's and Noppadon's political motives to help a Cambodian's political party.
As for Pol. Lieut. Maj. Thaksin Shinawatra, the former PM, who is also accused, the investigation reveals no involvement in the issuance of the joint communique. Also Jakrapop Penkae had already resigned from the Minister of the Prime Minister Office.
Comment: Thaksin and Hunsen are believed to have conspired a secret deal exchange between the Pra Vihar Temple for petroleum resources concessions in the Gulf of Thailand. According to this hypothesis, Noppadon was particularly chosen for a special mission to stealthily, rapidly and eagerly carry out a strong support of Cambodian's unilateral listing of Pra Vihar temple with UNESCO. During his short FM post just for some months, Noppadon did not achieve anything else, while Samak PM then who lasted a bit longer for some months were concentrating only for Constitution amendment to launder Thaksin.
When asked why NCCC bases the ruling on the awareness of risks to loose the country's territory, and why the ruling is that Noppadon deliberately violated article 190 of the Constitution, Mr.Wichai said that it was the ruling by the Constitution Court which interpreted that any treaties which alter the territory also include any agreements which alter the territory. In this case, the Constitution Court ruled that there were risks to affect the territory of Thailand, therefore the document fell into the category of agreements which would affect the territory. As a result, in judging whether or not the acts of Samak and Noppadon were deliberate, it depends on whether or not both defendants knew the facts and the risks to Thailand territory as well as the severe effects to the public security. Whatever the Constitution Court have ruled, it is to be considered final. NCCC or other bodies may not change that.
When asked if NCCC had obtained most evidences from the opposition of Noppadon, Mr.Wichai refused, "We got them from both his side and others, particularly from the National Security Council, for example, the announcement of Noppadon and the request of Samak to Noppadon to help Somdej Hunsen for the election campaign." Mr.Klanarong added, "We did not just take Noppadon opposition's evidences. We also took documents from the Foreign Ministry and interrogations of Foreign Ministry's officers and all relevant documents before ruling."
Mr.Klanarong said, "As for Samak, we observed the acts from the beginning including the messages in the joint communique to see its development. Therefore, the documents and evidences collected by NCCC are of several hundred pages all of which will be filed to the Attorney General and to be passed to the Senate House Speaker."