V for vendetta

24 02 2011

Vendetta is not our word. It is from the Bangkok Post and refers to the fact that “[n]early half of the board members of TOT Plc have tendered their resignations over the past two days for fear of a possible legal backlash over the state enterprise’s move to demand compensation from mobile market leader Advanced Info Service. Five of the 12 board members decided to quit because they were unhappy with the board’s decision to submit the AIS compensation case for approval at a meeting tomorrow, TOT sources said.”

The Post goes on to say that “TOT is under pressure from the government to pursue massive compensation from AIS over a series of amendments to its concession.” The Abhisit Vejjajiva government claims that the amendments caused TOT to lose 74 billion baht.

One of the board members stated that the “directors had gradually quit because they were frustrated at the government’s pressure on TOT to demand compensation from AIS.” He claimed that the government’s action was probably in breach of the 1992 Public-Private Joint Venture Act.

This action by the government relates to complicated changes undertaken in the mobile telecoms sector when Thaksin Shinawatra was prime minister and when his family controlled AIS. The company was later sold to Singapore’s Temasek.

The implication of the Post headline is that the Abhisit government is continuing its vendetta against anything considered to relate to Thaksin.

Some might also see a recent political case, also reported in the Bangkok Post, as falling under the V word. Chinnicha Wongsawat is a Puea Thai Party MP for Chiang Mai and the daughter of former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat and Thaksin’s niece.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission “has asked the Supreme Court to bar [Chinnicha] from holding political office for five years after she failed to reveal the full extent of her liabilities when taking office as an MP.” It says that “she failed in a declaration of her assets and liabilities to the NACC on Jan 22, 2008, upon being elected an MP, to include a debt of 100million baht that she owed to businessman Bannapot Damapong, a stepbrother of Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, the former wife of Thaksin.”

“Chinnicha said she did not declare the debt in the first place because she believed she was not required to do so until the Assets Scrutiny Committee – the graft panel set up by the engineers of the Sept 19, 2006, coup that ousted Thaksin from power and later disbanded – had ruled on whether to unfreeze the money.”

The NACC has “decided the MP had intentionally submitted a false declaration of assets and liabilities.” It wants her banned for 5 years. PPT doesn’t know the intricacies of the machinations over money that went on following the coup, but it seems odd indeed that liabilities and funds frozen by the government at the time would be considered “deliberately hidden.”

It is easy to conclude that the anti-Thaksin vendetta continues unabated as the royalist regime seeks to further embed its rule.



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