Chusak Sirinil, head of the Pheu Thai Party’s legal team. (Bangkok Post file photo)
The Pheu Thai Party has criticised the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for interfering with the legislative branch over the anti-graft agency’s move to probe 40 of its former MPs for abuse of authority in proposing a 2013 amnesty bill.
The party has also questioned if the move is designed to pave the way to wipe out opponents of the military regime.
Chusak Sirinil, head of the Pheu Thai Party’s legal team, said the party has already filed counter lawsuits against the NACC ahead of their ruling.
“We contest that the NACC has no authority to investigate the issue because proposing laws is a right of MPs and parliament is the institution that makes decisions on such bills,” he said.
“The move of NACC to probe the issue is tantamount to interference with the legislative branch,” Mr Chusak said.
Somkid Chuakong, former Pheu Thai MP for Ubon Ratchathani, said a representative of the 40 former MPs has filed lawsuits in the Civil Court against Baworn Yasinthorn, the political activist who filed the complaint against them to the NACC, as well as nine NACC members for their role in the probe.
Former Samut Prakan MP Worachai Hema earlier said he was informed that an NACC inquiry panel, chaired by commissioner Supa Piyajitti, had resolved that there were grounds for the investigation and it would forward its conclusion to the commissioners’ meeting.
If the anti-graft commissioners agree with the panel, the 40 former MPs could be banned from politics for five years.
“The report, which coincides with the prime minister’s statement that he has become a politician, has raised doubts as to whether that this is a move to wipe out political opponents,” Mr Somkid said.
Mr Somkid said proposing laws is an authority granted to the members of the House of Representatives and is protected under the 2007 charter. The group have demanded Mr Baworn and the commissioners pay them 1 million baht in compensation.
The court has accepted the case and proceedings will commence on Feb 13, he said.
The NACC set up the inquiry panel to probe the group of MPs in August last year.
The 40 former MPs have been accused of abuse of authority when they signed in support of the amnesty bill and put forward the bill for deliberation by the House of Representatives during the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra.
The bill was proposed by Mr Worachai.
The bill was criticised for its alleged implicit aim of benefitting former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as it set out to nullify corruption cases from 2006 onward.