Former ICT minister Surapong released from prison

  • Thai Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee listens during a no-confidence debate at Parliament House in Bangkok on June 25, 2008. Thailand’s opposition accused Samak and seven cabinet members of incompetent handling of the economy and mismanagement of a separatist insurgency in the Thai south. AFP PHOTO/PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL / AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL

Former information and communication technology minister Dr Surapong Suebwonglee has been released from prison since Tuesday evening (July 4) after having served about 10 months of the one-year jailterm imposed upon him by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

Corrections Department director-general Kobkiat Kasiwiwat said Wednesday that a committee of the department decided to suspend the remaining jailterm of Dr Surapong after finding him qualified for the imprisonment suspension due to his good conduct in the prison.

He said that the committee was authorized to grant a well-behaved inmate one-fifths reduction of the sentence or, in Dr Surapong’s case, two months’ suspension.

However, he noted that the former ICT minister would be required to report himself to parole officials on regular basis until August 25 when his one-year jailterm is due to be completed.

Dr Surapong, the former ICT minister in the former Thaksin Shinawatra government, and two former senior ICT officials were  accused by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) of dereliction of duty and malfeasance for changes in a concession contract, which enabled Shin Corp, then owned by the Shinawatra family, to reduce its shareholding in Shin Satellite from 51%  to 40%.

He was tried by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions and eventually convicted on August 25, 2016.