Trial on Thai Democrat Party fund abuse case begins

20:01, August 09, 2010      

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The Constitution Court on Monday summoned main coalition Democrat Party and the Election Commission or EC for the first trial on the alleged abuse of party development fund case.

Democrat Party is accused of misusing 29 million baht (907,000 U.S. dollars) from the fund by spending it on wrong sized campaign posters of which the EC had been instructed in 2004 and 2005.

Late July, the court summoned both sides in collecting all the necessary documents for the hearing.

The court ruled that it would hear 15 witnesses, including Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, former party leader Banyat Bantadtan and Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Pataraprasit, the party secretary-general when the funds were donated to the Democrats.

Chuan Leekpai, Democrat Party chief adviser and former prime minister, is assigned as head of party's legal team for the case. There will be another three sessions for prosecution witnesses to testify. The next hearing is scheduled on Aug. 23.

If the Democrat Party is found guilty, it may face dissolution and party executives could be banned from politics for five year.

Besides, the party is also on another trial for allegedly accepting illegal donations worth 258 million baht (8.08 mln U.S. dollars).

Source: Xinhua


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