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Former culture minister Itthiphol Khunpluem faces an arrest warrant after failing to appear in court to defend himself against accusations of malfeasance from when he was the mayor of Pattaya in 2008. A news source reports that he has flown to a neighbouring country.

The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases issued a summons for Itthiphol Khunpluem, former culture minister in Prayut Chan-o-chas second cabinet, to appear in court in a case involving the illegally issue of a construction permit to Bali Hai Construction to build a luxury condominium waterfront suite and residence project on 10 September 2008 when he was Pattayas mayor. The case was brought by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

The former minister was scheduled to report on 4 September. However, he failed to show up in court. The NACC submitted a petition to the court seeking an arrest warrant. As the defendant intentionally failed to appear, the court issued an arrest warrant on 5 September.

In cases of malfeasance under Section 157 of the Criminal Code, Itthiphol could face 1 to 10 years in prison. As the lawsuit has 15 years statute of limitations, the case will expire on 10 September.

Isranews reported that Itthiphol intended to delay the case until it expired so that he would not face any legal proceedings. A news source stated that the former minister may be apprised of a similar case in the past when a high-ranked official did not show up in court and no one pursued him, causing the lawsuit to expire.

In this case, the NACC filed with the Office of the Attorney-General and the court ordered prosecution on 30 August. A news source from the immigration office told Isranews that Itthiphol flew to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on the day of the courts order.

Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, the Secretary-General of the NACC, stated that the NACC will coordinate with the police to pursue Itthiphol before the case expires. He added that it Itthiphol is not arrested by 10 September, the authorities will not be able to take any legal action against him.

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