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Kosit Cleared Of Collusion In Mine Inquiry


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The National Anti-Corruption Commission has dismissed accusations of abuse of authority against former deputy prime minister and industry minister Kosit Panpiemras as groundless.

Kosit: Did not abuse authority

The NACC earlier appointed a sub-committee to look into a malfeasance allegation against Mr Kosit over the renewal of Padaeng Industry Plc's mining licence.

Padaeng is a zinc mining company listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

NACC spokesman Klanarong Chantik said the commission had concluded Mr Kosit had not abused his authority in favour of Padaeng.

The abuse of authority complaint was filed with the NACC by Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, an adviser to the auditor-general.

Mr Ruangkrai claimed Mr Kosit may have had a conflict of interest in the renewal of Padaeng's licence.

The new licence allowed Padaeng to continue running its zinc mine in tambon Phrathat Padaeng of Tak's Mae Sot district.

According to Mr Klanarong, the NACC's sub-panel found that when Mr Kosit was a deputy prime minister and industry minister, he was involved in Padaeng's licence renewal process in his capacity as chairman of the National Environment Board.

Mr Kosit then twice took part in a review of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on Padaeng's zinc mining project - at the National Environment Board meetings on June 21 and July 17, 2007.

The EIA had been approved by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (Onep).

Mr Klanarong said the NACC agreed the preparation of the EIA report on Padaeng's mining project, which was proposed to the National Environment Board at the two meetings, had already been reviewed by Onep panel experts.

Before Mr Kosit's appointment as industry minister, the National Environment Board had suggested Padaeng rewrite its EIA report several times before the commission eventually approved it.

The NACC, therefore, concluded that the allegation that Mr Kosit had abused his authority in favour of Padaeng was groundless.

According to Mr Ruangkrai's complaint, Bangkok Bank - where Mr Kosit served as a director until Oct 9, 2006 - held 7.3 million shares in Padaeng.

Mr Kosit also sat on Padaeng's board as an authorised representative of Bangkok Bank from April 2005 to October 2006.

Mr Kosit received a 169,891 baht director's allowance and a 1.18 million baht bonus for 2006 from Padaeng, Mr Ruangkrai claimed.

Bangkok Post

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