Published on December 10, 2007
The party could face the maximum penalty of being dissolved if found guilty, a senior election official said.
Election Commission secretary-general Sutthipol Thawee-chaikarn said it did not matter if the footage on the VCDs was made before the decree; the PPP would have violated commission rules if it distributed them afterwards.
"That is, if [the distribution] took place [before the decree] and then did not stop" after the decree was gazetted, Sutthipol said.
On Saturday, EC chairman Apichart Sukhagganond said the commission would launch an investigation tomorrow into the distribution of the VCDs.
The VCDs contain several clips of the former prime minister speaking with his supporters. In one clip he urged voters to choose People Power.
The EC recently ruled that Thaksin and 110 other former Thai Rak Thai Party (TRT) executives could not help any party to campaign for the election as they had been banned from politics for five years following the dissolution of TRT.
Sutthipol was commenting after PPP secretary-general Surapong Suebwonglee said earlier that the video footage of Thaksin on VCDs distributed in the Northeast were shot before the election decree, and that the party had nothing to do with their distribution.
Since the clips were shot before the decree, there should be nothing wrong with Thaksin's speeches, he said.
"But the PPP has no knowledge about the distribution of the video CDs. I can affirm that we have done nothing illegal," Surapong said.
He urged the EC to use the same standard to determine whether other banned TRT executives had spoken in support of other political parties.
Surapong denied reports the PPP had collaborated with a Thai businessman in Hong Kong, Charnchai Ruayrungruang, and former Thai Rak Thai executive Newin Chidchob to produce and distribute the VCDs.
The reports said Charnchai made a clip of Thaksin's life and activities in Hong Kong and sent it to Newin to produce the VCD and have it distributed.
Surapong said the PPP's opponents made up the reports to try to frame the party. He said he would sue anyone making allegations.
While Surapong claimed PPP had nothing to do with the distribution, party leader Samak Sundaravej said it had in fact distributed the VCDs, but it was done before the EC announced that former TRT executives could not help in campaigning.
Samak said earlier he had asked the EC whether the former executives could help in campaigning and it had agreed. So the VCDs, which were made to introduce the PPP, were distributed.
He said it was done even before Newin went on stage at an election rally. But distribution was stopped after the EC brought in the campaigning ban on the former executives.
"The clips are an old story," Samak insisted to reporters yesterday after launching 12 campaign caravans at his party's head office.