Supachai Phosu found guilty of serious ethical misconductLegacy

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) of Thailand declared former Deputy Agriculture Minister Supachai Phosu, culpable of serious ethical misconduct. The charges stem from his unlawful occupation of a forest reserve in Nakhon Phanom province.

Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, the NACC spokesman, declared that the case will be forwarded to the Supreme Court for political office holders to determine the final verdict.

Investigations revealed that Supachai illicitly occupied 220 rai (approximately 88 acres) of land within the Dong Prathai forest reserve, located in the Thai Uthen district of Nakhon Phanom province. According to Niwatchai, the NACC found no evidence of Nor Sor 2 land occupancy documents, which are required by Thai law, for the 40 plots that make up the 220 rai.

Supachai had declared his occupation of the said 40 plots to the NACC on three separate occasions: first on January 22, 2008, when he assumed office as an MP for Nakhon Phanom, again on June 3 of the same year when he became deputy agriculture minister, and finally on May 25, 2019, when he once more took office as an MP.

However, an NACC investigation discovered that Supachai, who was ineligible to participate in a land-reform scheme in the Dong Prathai forest reserve, had entered into contracts to purchase the 40 plots from those who were qualified to use the land for farming. Current legislation prohibits the transfer of ownership of reformed land.

Supachai, who was then deputy agriculture minister and deputy House speaker, had even issued letters on July 11 and 12 last year to cancel the rights to possess and use those land plots.

An inquiry was launched into Supachai’s conduct by the House Committee on Ethics of MPs, led by then parliament president Chuan Leekpai, in October 2022.

The NACC concluded that Supachai’s actions were unlawful and contravened the public interest in managing state land and forest resources. Moreover, his actions deprived landless individuals and those with small plots insufficient for self-sustainability, of their right to acquire land for farming, reported Bangkok Post.

The NACC ruled that Supachai’s activities had compromised the dignity of the MP and Cabinet minister offices, constituting a severe ethical violation.

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Author: Mitch Connor