flouting summons carries legal penalty
Sharp-tongued Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, who chairs the House committee on corruption suppression and prevention, is warning Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha against ignoring the committee’s “order” to clarify his incomplete recital of the oath of office and 2020 budget request issues.
The Seri Ruam Thai Party leader is standing firm in his belief that the incomplete oath-taking during the swearing-in ceremony in July made Gen Prayut ill-qualified to propose the 3.2-trillion-baht budget bill before the parliament this month.
During a live broadcast on his Facebook Page on Saturday, Pol Gen Sereepisuth said the committee will first send “invitation letters” to Gen Prayut, together with his deputy Prawit Wongsuwon, summoning them to meet the group. “I’ll give them only two summons,” Pol Gen Sereepisuth said. “If they still don’t come, I’ll issue an order as the commission chairman.” Under the law, a person who ignores such an order is subject to three months in jail and/or a 5,000-baht fine, he said.
However, Democrat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat Thepthai Senpong questioned the committee’s summons, asking how the incomplete oath and budget proposal are related to corruption issues the group is monitoring. If the Prayut administration carries out its budget plan incorrectly, MPs can lodge a motion with House speaker, asking for a censure debate. “I think that will be a more appropriate channel,” Mr Thepthai said.
Gen Prayut said on Friday the oath-taking controversy is over and he will not meet the Sereepisuth committee. On July 16, Gen Prayut led cabinet ministers at a swearing-in ceremony before HM the King at the Ambara Villa in Dusit Palace.
However, he failed to recite the final sentence of Section 161 of the constitution, which requires the oath-taker to uphold and abide by the constitution, prompting questions over the validity of his premiership.
On Sept 11, the Constitutional Court rejected the Ombudsman’s petition asking it to consider the issue. His Majesty the King later offered his moral support to the government in carrying out its duties in line with the oath it had made.