Legal counsellors' neutrality queried
The appointment of asset investigators and former Thaksin cabinet members as legal advisers to the Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) met with opposition from academics and politicians yesterday.
Banjerd Singkaneti, director of Thammasat University's Law Centre, said the decision to appoint the secretary-general of the Security and Exchange Commission to inspect projects undertaken during Thaksin Shinawatra's tenure might bias the investigation.
The appointments of Wissanu Krea-ngam and Borwornsak Uwanno as legal advisers to the CDRM was also not appropriate, Banjerd said.
"They must have had some interest in the previous government. And if we look hard enough, I believe their involvement might emerge,'' he said.
He also dismissed claims that the appointments were part of a tactic of using a thief to catch a thief. "When they sit as panel members, how can they say what is wrong?'' he said.
Former Thai Rak Thai party-list MP Ekaporn Rakkwamsuk said that after the National Peace-keeping Council (NPKC) staged a coup in 1991 and launched an asset investigation, it did not achieve much success as the court threw out the cases.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said that it was all right to appoint an asset-investigation panel but the panel should not have power beyond the courts.
He said the asset investigation by the NPKC ultimately failed to yield any results because the panel's special powers were deemed inappropriate.
He said that though the appointment of Sawat Chotephanich as chairman of the asset-investigation panel may be acceptable as other panel members will oversee the procedure, they will have to carry out the responsibility judiciously.
"If the investigation is not fair, when the dust settles the justice system will annul the findings,'' he said.