Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP), is now facing stricter scrutiny over his possession of media stocks while participating in national elections.
He recently confessed to owning shares in iTV as the executor of his father’s estate, only to later pass them on to his family members to avoid potential legal entanglements.
Mr. Limjaroenrat conceded last week that he transferred his 42,000 shares to his relatives to forestall any obstructions to his ascension to power.
Previously, he had maintained that he possessed these shares in his capacity as the executor of his late father’s assets, not as a direct beneficiary.
The secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, reported that Mr. Limjaroenrat submitted a document listing his iTV shares to the organization after he became an MP in the aftermath of the 2019 general election.
Mr. Kasemmongkol added that the MFP leader attached a copy of a court decree naming him the executor of his late father’s assets. However, the NACC couldn’t authenticate this document as the court no longer retained it.
He explained that the commission is obliged to cross-verify these documents with the concerned authorities, but no record could be found as the document is almost 20 years old.
Mr. Kasemmongkol mentioned that Mr. Limjaroenrat will be requested to provide additional evidence to support his assertion that he held the shares as the executor of the family’s estate.
As per the law, all declared assets and liabilities of political office holders must be owned by the declarant at the time of declaration.
“If an individual holds shares as an executor, it is unclear how many shares he will inherit and the shares are not allocated to him in his capacity as an heir,” explained Mr. Kasemmongkol.
In response to whether a Constitutional Court ruling could resolve uncertainties regarding Mr. Limjaroenrat’s shareholding, Mr. Kasemmongkol stated that the NACC is not empowered to make decisions on this subject or Mr. Limjaroenrat’s eligibility as an election candidate.
He added that the NACC would forward Mr. Limjaroenrat’s asset and liability declaration to the Election Commission (EC) if necessary.
As of now, Mr. Limjaroenrat has not declared his assets and liabilities after leaving his MP office and he has until June 18 to submit this document, according to the NACC’s secretary-general.
Former MPs are granted a 60-day window to submit their declarations after leaving office, typically by May 19. However, this year the deadline has been pushed back to June 18.
When questioned if Mr. Limjaroenrat needs to declare his share transfer in the new declaration, Mr. Kasemmongkol stated that the MFP leader is not required to do so. However, the NACC may request evidence that he no longer owns the shares.
Regarding allegations that Mr. Limjaroenrat guaranteed loans without reporting them to the NACC, Mr. Kasemmongkol clarified that unless he is mandated to repay the loan, there’s no requirement for him to declare it.
Media reports previously suggested that Mr. Limjaroenrat had guaranteed loans but had not disclosed them to the NACC.
Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, a former election commissioner, argued on Facebook that Mr. Limjaroenrat’s transfer of his iTV shares suggests the MFP leader was an owner of the shares, rather than “abandoning” his inheritance.
To support his argument, he referred to a share transfer document presented to the EC by political activist Ruangkrai Leekitwattana.
The document revealed that Mr. Limjaroenrat transferred the shares to his brother, Pasin, on May 25.
Mr. Somchai suggested that the document raises one remaining question: whether iTV is still officially classified as a media organization.
In the document, Mr. Limjaroenrat did not identify himself as the executor of the family’s estate.
While delivering a thank-you speech to MFP supporters in Lampang, Mr. Limjaroenrat asserted that public involvement is key to bringing about change, “be part of politics. Be part of change,” he advocated.