Former culture minister Itthiphol Kunplome
The Region 2 Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases has issued a warrant for the arrest of former Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome on corruption charges, in connection with the issuance of a permit, while serving as mayor of Pattaya City, for the construction of a condominium.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) found Itthiphol at fault, by a 5:1 decision, on July 24th of malfeasance in office under Section 157 of the Criminal Code for illegally issuing a permit for the construction of the Water Front condominium at the foot of Khao Phra Tamnak Hill in the resort town of Pattaya in Chon Buri province. It also ordered him to be removed from the office as culture minister.
Four other Pattaya City officials were also found at fault by the NACC. The case has been forwarded to the provincial public prosecutor.
The NACC ruling is, however, not final as all the accused have the right to appeal in the court.
Itthiphol was supposed to report to the provincial public prosecutor to acknowledge the charges filed against him by the Region 2 NACC, but he did not do so, prompting the prosecutor to issue a summons. Again, he failed to show up and is believed to have fled, so the prosecutor sought at an arrest warrant.
The construction permit was issued on September 10th, 2008 to the Bali Hai Company for the construction of the 57-storey condominium. A civic group in Pattaya, named Pattaya Watchdog, lodged a complaint with the NACC in 2014, charging that the construction permit had expired in 2010 and, in the same year, Pattaya was declared an environmentally protected area.
The civic group also charged that the condo, which is half complete, is blocking the view of Pattaya Bay from Khao Phra Tamnak viewpoint.
Source: Thai PBS World