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Thai anti-corruption body complains of intimidation by PM lawyers
Publication Date : 03-05-2014
Thailand's National Anti-Corruption Com-mission (NACC) has submitted a petition to the Law Society accusing lawyers of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of violating professional ethics by threatening its officials.
It follows a statement by one of Yingluck's lawyers that the embattled PM's legal team was collecting evidence against the NACC after the commission refused to accept more evidence and examine stock in the rice-pledging scheme.
The anti-graft body, which is investigating Yingluck over her alleged negligence in relation to the scheme and for allegedly allowing corruption to occur, has the authority to call any witnesses and introduce any evidence into the case, NACC secretary Sansern Poljiak said.
NACC commissioner Vicha Mahakun said the petition to the Law Society, an umbrella association of Thai lawyers, was a preventive measure to control the behaviour of lawyers in the case. "As we've already lodged the petition, it is the duty of the Law Society from now on, not the NACC, to take care of the ethics issue of the lawyers," he said.
Bancha Porameesanaporn, one of Yingluck's lawyers, said the legal team did not threaten the NACC but made a complaint over the agency's conduct in accordance with legal procedures. "We did not violate any ethics but we did our job to protect the interests of PM Yingluck, who is our client," he said. "As the NACC rejected many witnesses and evidence, I think it is our right to make a complaint over such actions."
The legal team would continue collecting evidence to prove the anti-graft body abused its power and was guilty of misconduct, he said, adding that the team would file a lawsuit against the NACC in accordance with article 157 of the Penal Code.
"We are exercising our rights," he said.
Bancha said if the NACC lodged a petition with the Law Society, he would ask the society's ethics panel to summon NACC chief Panthep Klanarongran and Wicha to testify.