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NACC considers appealing the acquittal in a land encroachment case against politician

NACC considers appealing the acquittal in a land encroachment case against politician
Written by World Events

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) will consult the Office of the Attorney-General over whether to appeal the verdict of the Region 2 Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases, acquitting former deputy education minister Kanokwan Wilawan, her father Sunthorn and eight other individuals of forest encroachment in Khao Yan National Park.

The court ruled that Kanokwan, Sunthorn and four of the other defendants had no intention to encroach on state land and that the remaining four defendants were not accessories in committing the alleged land encroachment.

NACC Secretary-General Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said that he is confident that the case will be appealed to a higher court, as the acquittal is just the decision of the first court of law.

The case concerns two land plots, covering 3.68 hectares in Noen Hom sub-district, Prachin Buri, which are located in Khao Yai National Park.

In February, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders stripped Kanokwan of her ministerial post and revoked her voting rights, as well as the right to contest an election for ten years, after finding her guilty of gross ethical misconduct.

Niwatchai said, however, that there is another land encroachment case against Kanokwan pending with the same court.

Meanwhile, Sunthorn, a former mayor of the Prachin Buri provincial administrative organisation (PAO), told the media yesterday (Friday) that he does not intend to file charges against the NACC, while insisting that the land in question was lawfully purchased from villagers.

He claimed that he later applied for land title deeds for the land he bought, after the Prachin Buri provincial administration announced that individuals who had “Sor Khor” land certificates for their land could have the documents upgraded to land title deeds.

Reacting to the court’s acquittal, Atthaphon Charoenchansa, acting director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, told the media that they will proceed with reclaiming land in national parks which is occupied by individuals.

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