Pheu Thai seeks legal scrutiny of Prem

A Pheu Thai Party legal adviser said on Sunday he will ask the Office of the Ombudsman to examine whether the payment of a position allowance for Gen Prem Tinsulanond’s statesman status is unconstitutional.

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Ruangkrai Leekitwattana said he will petition the Ombudsman Monday asking it to determine if the payment — carried out under section 5 of the Royal Decree on Position Allowance for Privy Councillors and Statesman — may violate the constitution. 

He will also ask the agency to forward its findings and decision to the Constitutional Court which will deliberate and later rule on the matter.     

Section 5 of the royal decree, issued in 2008 during the Surayud Chulanont government, stipulates that a statesman will receive 121,950 baht a month as a position allowance. Gen Surayud is one of 19 privy councillors that include Gen Prem.

Mr Ruangkrai indicated that the royal decree’s section 5 may be unconstitutional as the constitution has no legal definition of a statesman and therefore it may contravene section 196 of the charter.

Section 196 stipulates that emoluments and other remuneration of privy councillors and members of the House of Representatives and senators shall be prescribed by royal decree in which no payment can be made before the date of taking office.

Mr Ruangkrai said there was no clear description of a statesman’s duties or to which agency a statesman is attached, although the law clearly said the payment of a position allowance must be counted from the first day of taking office.

The position allowance payment to Gen Prem may also violate section 6 which stipulates that the provisions of any law, rule or regulation, which are contrary to or inconsistent with the Constitution, shall be unenforceable.

The issue was crucial to Gen Prem who is both Privy Council president and statesman, Mr Ruangkrai  noted.

“If it appears there is no law backing up the payment of a position allowance to the statesmen in all these years, it may damage the dignity and reputation of Gen Prem, so the issue should be examined.

“If the payments are wrong, concerned agencies must get the taxpayer's money back,” the former senator said.

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