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Former Pattaya Mayor Faces Arrest Warrant 

Former Pattaya Mayor Faces Arrest Warrant

The issuance of an arrest warrant by the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases pertains to the former mayor of Pattaya, Itthiphol Khunpluem. This action is in connection with his purported involvement in the unlawful granting of a building construction permit for the construction of the contentious Waterfront building in close proximity to Pattaya Beach.
Itthiphol, who previously held the position of Thai Minister of Culture, is currently facing allegations from the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). The NACC has accused him of granting an inappropriate construction permit to Bali Hai Company Limited in 2008. At the time, Itthiphol was serving as the mayor of Pattaya. The permit in question was issued for the development of a high-rise condominium complex known as Waterfront Suites & Residence.
The Waterfront building became a subject of controversy after people lodged concerns regarding its obstruction of the view of Pattaya Bay from the Pratumnak viewpoint. This viewpoint is notable for housing a statue of an esteemed figure, recognized as the Father of the Thai Royal Navy, which traditionally faced the ocean but now faces a condominium due to the building’s presence.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) conducted an investigation into the complaints and subsequently issued a request for the cessation of building activities. Nearly ten years have elapsed since that time, and the project continues to be in a state of uncertainty as a result of multiple legal complexities. As a result, the structure remains a prominent visual blemish at Bali Hai Pier up till the present time.

The arrest warrant was issued for Itthiphol due to his non-compliance with the requirement to appear before the prosecutor and accept his allegations on September 4th. Subsequently, the NACC submitted a formal request for a warrant pertaining to the individual in question, which was expeditiously approved on September 5th.

According to Section 157 of the Criminal Code, Itthiphol may receive a sentence of imprisonment that ranges from 1 to 10 years if found guilty. However, it should be noted that the statute of limitations applicable to this particular case is set at a duration of 15 years, so indicating that it will reach its expiration date on September 10th, 2023.

In the meanwhile, Thai journalists sought the perspective of Mr. Narongchai Khunpluem, a member of the Khunpluem clan and the Mayor of Saensuk Municipality, on his stance on the aforementioned matter.
The individual expressed that there has been a lack of communication between themselves, their family, and Itthiphol. It can be inferred that the individual in question is likely experiencing a significant amount of stress at present.

Narongchai indicated a lack of awareness of this topic until the issuance of the warrant. Nevertheless, he held the belief that Itthiphol was subjected to unjust discrimination.

Narongchai asserts that the Land Department, a body separate from the municipality that Itthiphol is in charge of, issued the disputed land title document. Furthermore, the design of the land title deed was executed by foreign specialists in compliance with its specifications.

At the time of publication, the current location of Itthophol remains undisclosed and no official statement has been issued by him.

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