THAILAND: Further iTV fine increase threatened after breach
iTV may have face up to 80 billion baht if it neglects to compensate for concession-contract breach
Thursday, October 26, 2006
By Pradit Ruangdit
Permanent secretary to the Prime Minister's Office Julayuth Hiranyawasit yesterday warned Independent Television (iTV) of a "fine run-on" if it refuses to pay up for an alleged concession breach. The station faces the prospect of paying up to 80 billion baht in fines, which is more than the 76 billion baht it has been ordered by the office to pay over an alleged breach of its concession.
Mr Julayuth said the fine payment demand was a pressing issue following its breach of contract and the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) insisted the Prime Minister's Office was in a position to demand payment within one year after it won the case in the Supreme Administrative Court.
The Prime Minister's Office, which is the concession owner, has been locked in a legal battle with iTV, accused of under-paying its concession.
"The office feels it is necessary to recalculate the fine payment and compile relevant details, especially the scope of lawsuit (filed against iTV)," Mr Julayuth said.
He would meet the committee overseeing the contract and operation of radio and television stations before seeking further opinions from the OAG.
The fate of the concession dispute now rested with the Supreme Administrative Court after the station appealed against the verdict regarding the fee payment.
Mr Julayuth also insisted an investigation committee set up by former deputy agriculture minister Newin Chidchob should be abolished, as he had no authority to appoint the panel in the first place.
But a source in the Prime Minister's Office said the committee overseeing the contract and operation of radio and television stations had ordered the agency not to make any move on the concession fee dispute with iTV and wait for the ruling from the court.
Minister to the Prime Minister's Office Dhipawadee Meksawan would look into the case again after hearing the Supreme Administrative Court's verdict. It is not known when the verdict will come out.
Date Posted: 10/26/2006