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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Former Pheu Thai MP Loses Appeal Over Bribery Sentence

Anurak Tangpanitanon, a former Pheu Thai MP from Mukdahan province, has lost his appeal against a six-year jail sentence for seeking a 5-million-baht bribe while in office, according to a ruling issued by an appeal panel of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The panel upheld the original decision made by the court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions. Anurak was prosecuted for demanding the bribe from Sakda Wichiansilp, director-general of the Department of Groundwater Resources, in exchange for not reducing the department’s budget allocation when he served on the House committee vetting the 2021 budget bill.

On April 25 last year, the court found Anurak guilty of violating the Criminal Code and the anti-corruption law. Along with the six-year prison sentence, he was stripped of his MP status and banned from running in elections or holding political positions for life. Additionally, he was barred from voting for ten years.

The appeal panel’s decision confirmed that the investigation conducted by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) was thorough and proper, as reported by a source. The case emerged when Sakda publicly complained to the sub-committee reviewing his department’s budget, revealing that a member had demanded 5 million baht to avoid budget cuts.

The NACC substantiated the bribe claim and filed the case through the Office of the Attorney-General. The investigation report, which included testimony from 17 individuals and 10 documents, was deemed sufficient to establish the facts and Anurak’s culpability, according to the appeal panel.

Following the ruling on Tuesday, Anurak was taken to Bangkok Remand Prison. Several officials and observers were present during the announcement of the court’s decision.

Nora Zaarimi
Author: Nora Zaarimi

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