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Pattaya Daily News

20 March 2009 :: 01:03:05 am 38720

Pm Denies Opposition Charges Over Illegal Donations

BANGKOK, March 19 - Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Thursday denied Opposition charges his ruling Democrat Party had accepted Bt258 million in donations from a listed Bangkok corporation and used the campaign funds provided by the Election Commission (EC) to his party for ?money laundering in a private firm.
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In answering charges made by Opposition Puea Thai Party MP leader Chalerm Yubamrung on the first day of the censure debate in Parliament, Mr. Abhisit said he didn?t know about his party having accepted donations from TPI Polene PCL for the 2005 general election.

The donations were given to the Democrats in 2004 and 2005, veteran politician Chalerm said in opening the debate.

Stressing that the Democrat Party had informed the elections agency regarding funds donated by individuals or firms in the past, Mr. Abhisit said that EC officials had already questioned his party and the issue had been cleared.

In a three-hour grilling Mr. Abhisit during the no-confidence debate, his government’s first major challenge since assuming power on December 22, Mr. Chalerm also charged that in January 2005 the Democrat Party received Bt29 million from the Election Commission as a fund for supporting the party but instead invested it in a small advertising firm which he charged was just like corruption.

Mr. Abhisit was well-aware of this because he signed his name and certified the balance sheet of the party, Mr. Chalerm said. The advertising firm was responsible in making publicity campaigns for TPI Polene and money was laundered by friends of a younger brother of current Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Phataraprasit, one of the ministers to be grilled in the current censure motion.

Other issues raised by Mr. Chalerm in attacking the Oxford-graduate prime minister focused on the allegation that he had dodged army conscription as a young man and his government?s plan to borrow money from international financial institutions to resolve Thailand’s economic crisis. The prime minister denied all the allegations. Earlier on Thursday, a dozen United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) supporters burned an effigy of prime minister Abhisit outside the parliament.

The ministers expected to be grilled later Thursday are Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and Deputy Finance Minister Pradit.

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul and Deputy Interior Minister Boonjong Wongtrairat are the Opposition?s targets on Friday.

The no-confidence debate is scheduled to culminate in a vote on Saturday. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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