Friday, January 11, 2008

Pojaman returns today


Pojaman returns today

Thaksin's wife flies home this morning to face corruption charge in court

Published on January 8, 2008

Khunying Pojaman Shinawatra, wife of ex-premier Thaksin, returns to Thailand this morning to fight a corruption case involving her questionable land purchase while her husband was in power, the national police chief said yesterday.

"We will provide safety for Khunying Pojaman at the airport and assign female police officers to escort her," General Seripisut Temiyavej said.

Pojaman is expected to take Thai Airways International flight TG 603 from Hong Kong and arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport some time after 9am, according to sources.

Thaksin is also now in Hong Kong.

The move came after Thaksin's remark that he would return to Thailand in April. The ex-PM has lived in exile in London since his government was overthrown in a military coup in September 2006.

Upon her arrival at the airport, Pojaman is expected to face arrest. The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions earlier issued an arrest warrant for her and Thaksin for alleged abuse of power.

The court has put on hold the trial as Thaksin, who lives in exile in London and Hong Kong, and Pojaman failed to show up at court hearings. However, the arrest warrants are still intact.

The couple face arrest after they failed to appear in court in the case stemming from Pojaman's purchase of a coveted land plot in Bangkok's Ratchadaphisek area from the government's Financial Institutions Development Fund.

Police from the Rachathewa station in Samut Prakan, which has jurisdiction over the airport, are to deal with initial paperwork involving Pojaman's arrest before she is taken to the Supreme Court, according to sources.

Pojaman will also show up at the Supreme Court before noon today to face the charges against her, according to a source close to her.

She had requested police protection from General Seripisut while on her way to the court, the source said. Pojaman also had prepared surety to be produced with the court in her request for temporary release.

Pojaman's daughter Pinthongta had coordinated with officials offering Bt5 million in bail, according to the source, who expected her to be released on bail.

In a related development, Rakkiat Pattanapong, secretary to the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions, said yesterday that if Pojaman showed up today, a panel of judges could immediately hear her testimony.

He said police had not contacted judges about Pojaman's expected return.

Piyanart Srivalo,

Samatcha Hunsara

The Nation

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