Yongyuth in hot water over Alpine land
The National Anti-Corruption Commission has found that Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit committed serious breach of Article 157 of the Criminal Code in connection with the sale of 732 rai of land to Alpine real estate and golf club in 2002 when he was a deputy peramanent secretary, NACC member Klanarong Chanthik said on Wednesday.
Mr Kranarong said commissioner Vicha Mahakhun was preparing a statement to be issued next week explaining how Mr Yongyuth, who is also the interior minister, had been involved in this case.
He said Mr Yongyuth, then deputy permanent secretary of the Interior Ministry, acting for the permanent secretary, on March 13, 2002 certified as legal the sale of 732-rai of land by a foundation representing Wat Thammikaram to Alpine Real Estate Co and Alpine Golf & Sports Club Co, despite the fact that it was monastic land that could not be sold or transferred.
The Council of State on April 11, 2002 ruled that Mr Yongyuth's action was illegal.
Because of this, the NACC concluded that Mr Yongyuth had violated Article 157 of the Criminal Code and had committed a serious breach of discipline.
The case would be fowarded to the Office of the Attorney General for further legal action against Mr Yongyuth.
Mr Yongyuth, when asked by reporters this morning, declined to comment, saying that he had not yet been officially notified by the NACC.
The land in question, in Pathum Thani's Khlong Luang district, was originally owned by the late Nuem Chamnanchartsakda. The woman donated it to Wat Thammikaram in Prachuap Khiri Khan in 1971.
The temple sought to have the ownership transferred so that it could make use of the land, but Sanoh Thienthong, then deputy interior minister overseeing the Land Department at the time, disallowed the transfer on Feb 13, 1990.
He instructed the temple to transfer the land to a foundation that was set up to manage the property. On Aug 21, 1990, the foundation sold the land to Alpine Real Estate Co and Alpine Golf & Sports Club Co.
The NACC found that shareholders of the two companies included Mr Sanoh's wife Uraiwan, his younger brother, Witthaya Thienthong, and his close associate, Chucheep Harnsawat, as of Jan 23, 1990. The land was sold to SC Asset Co, a property firm owned by the Shinawatra family, in 1999 for 500 million baht.
As the land became the subject of parliamentary debate, the Religious Affairs Department stepped into the picture. In December 2000, it asked the Council of State to rule if the land was considered monastic property that could not be transferred.
The government's legal adviser ruled in February 2001 that the land was temple property and could not be transferred or sold, as set down in Section 84 of the Land Act.
The Land Department was then urged to revoke the ownership title deeds issued to the golf course owners and home-buyers, but they refused to give in.
The department's order for revocation of title was then suspended by Mr Yongyuth.
A case against Mr Sanoh was filed by the NACC with the Supreme Court's Criminal Division against Holders of Political Positions, which on Nov 19, 2010 dismissed the case on the grounds that the 20-year statutory limitation in the case had expired.
13 June 2012
Yongyuth Wichaidit (Photo by Jetjaras na Ranong)