The court’s order, which took effect immediately, came after it unanimously accepted a petition by a group of 54 opposition MPs to rule on the status of Mr Saksayam. According to the petition, the minister of the coalition Bhumjaithai Party used a nominee to hold shares in a construction company, Burijarearn Construction Limited Partnership, which was awarded contracts worth billions of baht by the Transport Ministry reports Bangkok Post.
The accused minister has been informed to clarify the allegations with the court within 15 days starting from the date he received a copy of the petition.
Mr Saksayam said he would comply with the court’s order and clarify the allegations within 15 days.
He said Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate would serve as caretaker transport minister during his suspension.
Mr Saksayam’s alleged use of a nominee to hold shares was raised during a no-confidence debate in July last year. He was accused of concealing his assets in Burijarearn Construction Limited Partnership and using an employee as a nominee to hold shares on his behalf.
The opposition accused him of violating Section 187 of the constitution that prohibits a minister from holding shares. According to the opposition, the company was established in 1996, with 80% of its shares held by the Chidchob family.
Mr Saksayam quit being a shareholder when he entered politics in 1997. However, Mr Saksayam became a major shareholder in 2015 when he increased the company’s registered capital to 120 million baht.
The firm was awarded construction projects worth 440 million baht between 2015 and 2017. Before the 2019 election, he transferred his shares worth 119.4 million baht to his nominee, according to the opposition.
The minister had rejected the allegations, saying it was a friend who bought the company’s shares and there was proof of the money transfer.
JohnC | 05 March 2023 - 08:36:07