BANGKOK — A former Pheu Thai MP said Friday that he and 39 other politicians were about to be ruled guilty of malfeasance by an anti-graft agency for a bill they submitted to parliament over four years ago.
Worachai Hema said he heard about the imminent decision, which could lead to dozens from the opposition being banned from seeking office in the November election, from sources inside the National Anti-Corruption Commission. He accused the agency of operating on a double-standard.
“Those with power can do anything, but opposition politicians and political parties are scrutinized without mercy,” Worachai was quoted as saying in media reports. “The verdict might be intended to purge Pheu Thai Party politicians, if it comes out in a situation where election is about to happen.”
It had been more than a year since the national Anti-Corruption Commission said it was looking into a 2013 bill Worachai and others brought to parliament. It eventually became a controversial amnesty bill that sparked street protests, paving the way for the 2014 coup.
If found guilty, the commission would enable retroactive impeachment of the 40 politicos and see them banned from politics for five years.
But commission chairman Watcharapol Prasarnratchakij said the matter is still under investigation and has yet to be concluded.
“It’s probably just a rumor,” Watcharapol said, adding that any decision made by the working committee must first be approved by his commissioners. “I have not seen anything about this.”
The law originally brought to parliament in 2013 would have granted amnesty to pro-Pheu Thai Party protesters jailed for their roles in the political unrest of 2010.
While the bill submitted by Worachai was written not to cover protest leaders and government officials, a house committee in the Pheu Thai-controlled body rewrote it to include everyone involved. The rewritten language cleared way to vacate the corruption conviction of former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, the de facto leader of Pheu Thai Party living as a fugitive in exile.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission said it took the case to determine whether the 40 politicians submitted the bill with “illegal intent.”
Worachai maintained Friday that he and others had the right to push for the bill as duly elected members of the parliament and did not break any law, according to published reports.