Saksayam’s assets concealment case: Constitutional Court asks for more proof against suspended Transport Minister

MGR Online VDO, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Constitutional Court of Thailand has requested additional evidence from all parties involved in the assets concealment case lodged against suspended Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob. The request was made as the court has decided to proceed with the case against Mr. Saksayam.

The charge against him was filed by 54 former MPs, who alleged that Mr. Saksayam concealed shares he had in Burijarearn Construction Limited Partnership, which afforded him power to control the firm. The law prohibits a cabinet minister from having such a stake in a commercial firm.

The court judge on Wednesday discussed the evidence submitted by both sides and suggested any additional evidence which might be useful for the cross-examination should be lodged. The case was admitted by the Constitutional Court on March 3, and Mr. Saksayam was immediately suspended from his ministerial duty pending the court’s ruling.

Massage parlor tycoon-turned-whistleblower Chuvit Kamolvisit had accused Mr. Saksayam of helping Burijarearn Construction secure concessions in 40 Transport Ministry projects between 2020 and 2022 and also for alleged collusion with the Bhumjaithai Party, of which Mr. Saksayam serves as secretary-general.

According to the opposition, Burijarearn Construction was established in 1996, with 80% of its shares held by the Chidchob family. Newin Chidchob, chairman of Buriram United football team, is co-founder of the party. Mr. Saksayam quit being a shareholder when he entered politics in 1997, only to regain the shares and become a major shareholder in 2015. The firm, which has a registered capital of 120 million baht, was awarded construction projects worth 440 million baht between 2015 and 2017. Before the 2019 election, he transferred his shares worth 119.4 million baht to a nominee, the opposition said.

The minister has rejected the share concealment allegations, saying that a friend bought the company’s shares and there was proof of the money transfer. As the case continues to unfold, all eyes will be on the Constitutional Court as it weighs the evidence and decides on Mr. Saksayam’s fate.

Featured Photo Credit: MGR Online VDO, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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