NACC viewing ‘bribe money to MPs proof’

Graftbusters are analysing the screenshot of a Line mobile app chat log that reportedly proved that some MPs from smaller parties received monthly allowances from the government over the past three years, according to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

NACC secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol on Monday said the commission has already acknowledged the submission of the screenshot.

The MPs are accused of receiving a monthly bribe of 100,000 baht.

“The NACC is closely monitoring and if the evidence is proven [authentic], it can assign a committee to examine the case,” Mr Niwatchai said.

The submission of the chat log was accompanied by copies of online transaction receipts first circulated on Friday after Capt Thamanat Prompow, who pulled out from the government coalition before the recent censure debate, expressed disappointment over a group of smaller parties deciding to cast confidence votes for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and 10 targeted ministers.

Cap Thamanat claimed these parties accepted money over the past three years.

Mr Niwatchai said according to Section 128 of the NACC law, MPs or government officials cannot receive benefits worth more than 3,000 baht.

Violators can face three years imprisonment and/or a fine of about 60,000 baht, he said.

He said if the MPs took bribes in exchange for votes in the no-confidence debate, they would face criminal charges, including violating Section 149 which stipulates that those found guilty could face 20 years in jail.

Violators can also be removed from their legislative positions and be subject to an assets inspection, he said, adding the suspected giver would be charged with malfeasance.

Meanwhile, Palang Pracharath Party leader Prawit Wongsuwon on Monday responded to reports that Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, will also ask the NACC to probe the matter.

“[The NACC] can take [the case]. It’s like [the case involving] my watch,” he said, referring to his 2018 luxury watch scandal, in which NACC investigators cleared him of criminal charges.

“Take it up to find out the real story,” Gen Prawit, who is also a deputy prime minister, said. “I am not afraid of it.”

Earlier, Mr Srisuwan on Facebook said he has collected evidence of MPs receiving bribes and is ready to hand it over to the NACC in Nonthaburi today.

He said that any legislative member found guilty of accepting bribes may be blocked from running in elections for no more than 10 years.

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