PPP wants control over prosecutors
  PPP wants control over prosecutors

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The People Power party (PPP) wants existing independent agencies to revert to their former structures under the abrogated 1997 constitution, said Sukhumpong Ngonkam, the PPP deputy secretary-general. The PPP wants to put the Attorney-General's Office, an independent agency under the present charter, back under direct government supervision as a civil service agency.

The proposal has alarmed critics, who are concerned that the prosecution may become subject to the influence of politicians who could dictate the course of justice.

Mr Sukhumpong, who is on the PPP working group on charter amendments, argued that the prosecution had served as a state agency before, having functioned as the government's legal arm providing legal advice and looking after legal cases for the government.

But when the prosecution became an independent agency, problems kept arising, he said.

Mr Sukhumpong claimed the proposed change to the public prosecution structure would not benefit former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is facing criminal charges, including corruption.

Under the planned charter changes, other independent agencies reverting to their old working structures would include the Election Commission (EC), the Ombudsman, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC).

The proposals would also seek to revert the Courts of Justice, the Constitution Court, the military court and Administrative Court to their former structures under the 1997 charter.

In particular, the ion of people who choose the members of the EC and the NCCC would revert to the criteria of the 1997 charter.

The transitory provisions regarding the Privy Council, judges and senior prosecutors would be kept intact without any amendments made to them, Mr Sukhumpong said.

The views of members of the PPP's working group still differed on proposed amendments to other transitory provisions.

Some wanted Article 309 erased completely, while others wanted it retained.

Article 309 prohibits the judicial review of orders and announcements of the 2006 coup-makers, including the establishment of the Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC) to investigate alleged corruption by the Thaksin government.

Its abolition could pave the way for an amnesty for the 111 banned executives of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai party.

Mr Sukhumpong said the working group will meet today to iron out their differences on some issues.

He expected the proposed amendments to be tabled to the government whip by Monday before being sent to other coalition parties for their consideration.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva criticised the PPP for being indecisive on the charter amendments.

He favoured more public participation in the amendment process rather than having it done by one particular party.

Komsan Phokong, a former charter drafter, accused the PPP of trying to mount a 'purge' of the independent agencies.

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