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Niphon resigns as deputy interior minister

Niphon Bunyamanee, a deputy leader of the Democrat Party, has resigned from his portfolio as deputy interior minister to fight a court case for alleged malfeasance.

Mr Niphon said on Monday that he informed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha he was resigning on Monday morning. His resignation took effect from Monday

He said he told Gen Prayut that he did not want to fight the case while holding a ministerial post. He was not under pressure to resign from within the Democrat Party, he said.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has ruled there were grounds to charge Mr Niphon under Section 157 of the Criminal Code for refusing to pay Ponlavit Tech Plus Co 52 million baht for road maintenance vehicles.

The NACC initially ordered Mr Niphon to report to the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases on Aug 18. The NACC rescheduled the reporting date to Sept 5.

Mr Niphon said he decided to resign on Sept 5 because it was the day he was due to report to the court.

He decided not pay Ponlavit Tech Plus Co, because the bidders were found to have forged documents and indulged in price collusion, causing damage to the PAO.

The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases Region 9 had issued warrants for the arrest of all bidders, including the winning company and its subsidiaries. Most of the suspects had fled abroad. The suspects caught had been indicted in the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases Region 9, he said.

“Today, I am ready to fight the case in court to prove that my refusal to pay the bid winning company was to protect the country’s interest. If we could go back to that time, I would still insist in not paying the company,” he wrote.

Credit Bangkok Post

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