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March 2017 : First Seven Regional Corruption Courts Start Operate

  • First 7 Regional Corruption Courts start operate
  • NCCC indicted former TAT governor over bribery
  • NCPO appointed a committee for energy realization
  • Cabinet resolved 15 BB SMEs loan
  • An Industrial Estate to set up in Sa Kaew Special Economic Zone
  • Emergency Act in 3 southernmost provinces extended for 3 months
  • Cabinet gave green light on 2 National Reform Bills
  • EC appointed a Political Party Development Committee

    First 7 Regional Courts for Corruption start operate

          On April first, seven Regional Criminal Courts for Corruption and Misconduct, 1,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9, will start operate in their Provincial Court offices and the rest, 2 and 7 will designated in the Royal Gazette on 17 February 2017.

          The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct was established following the Corruption and Misconducted Act B.E. 2559 (2016), effective since 17 August 2016. The Act has objective to speed up prosecution and allow individuals and entities to file complaints against officials on the 3 following charges:
    1. Criminal charges of corruption and bribery; accepting, giving, bidding conspiring, facilitating, convincing and forcing. Complaints can be filed over state officials and individuals or entities involved.
    2. Civil charges over money laundering, unusual wealth etc. that lead to seizure of assets.
    3. Crimes due to forgery and cover-up of asset that requires submission according to the laws.

          The Act excludes politicians and offenders under 18 years of age due to they are to be trial in the Supreme Courts Criminal Subdivision of Political Position Holders and the Juveniles Delinquency Court respectively.

          Under the Act, corruption is defined as an action, taken by a state official, or failure of such state official to perform duties, in exchange for property or other benefit (such as in connection with obtaining a license, awarding a contract, or filing a false statement). Including are embezzlement and bribery.

           Misconduct is defined as an action taken by a state official, or failure of such state official to perform duties, in violation of the laws, notifications, regulations, rules, or cabinet resolutions which are aimed to restrict state officials from receiving, collection and distributing state property.

          The jury system is adopted to allow both offenders and accusers to provide extensively evidences. Prosecution shall continue even the offenders are absent. Prescription can be terminated if the offenders abscond but restart and those fled will be charged over avoiding trials.

    Former TAT governor indicted over bribery

          The National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) resolved to indict former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan of accepting bribery from an American couple for rights to host a Bangkok Film Festival, held between 2003 to 2006, without going through a state bidding procurement. The money, USD 1.8 million or Baht 65 million was given into her daughter, Jittisopha, oversea account. The case was prosecuted in court and both were found guilty and sentenced to a 50 and 44 jail terms respectively.

          The NCCC will forward the investigation to the Office of the Attorney-General to file lawsuit to the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct.

    A committee to provide energy realization

          The National Committee for Peace and Order appointed a committee, comprises of seventeen members, to provide information and gather comments on energy situations in the southern Thailand. The chairperson is the military chief and the members are representatives from the ministries of Interior, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Pollution Control, Energy Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), Public Relations Department, Navy and MCOT Plc.

          The first meeting was held on 31 March and recommendations should be submitted to the government by 28 April 2017.

          Conflict arose in the south when EGAT plans to build two coal energy plants in Krabi and Songkla provinces, 800 and 2,000 megawatt respectively. The local and national civil societies protested on ground that Krabis site is significant tourism, fishing and also vulnerable wetland.

    15 BB allocates to SMEs loans

          On 21st March the Cabinet resolved to allocate a 15 billion baht budget to the SMEs loans through SMEs Bank and Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG). Borrowers must be an entity of both current and new accounts. Each can borrow a maximum of 15 million baht to supplement liquidity. However, new borrowers are required to have outstanding innovations or business potentiality in line with industry 4.0 and SMEs 4.0.

    Sa Kaew industrial estate

          On 21 March the Cabinet resolved on an establishment of Sa Kaew industrial estate, budget 1,660.26 million baht, in Sa Kaew Special Economic Zone in Sa Kaew province. It is expected that infrastructure and facilities will be completed within 15 months.

          The project aligns with the government policy to promote industry in the border area to counter problems such as smuggling of agricultural products and labors.

    Southern emergency extended for 3 months

          On 14 March the emergency decree in the 3 southernmost provinces, Narathiwas, Yala and Pattani, is extended for another 3 months, until 20 June 2017.

    Cabinet nodded on 2 National Reform Bills

          On 14 March the Cabinet resolved on two national reform bills and made some remarks to State Council for revision so it will be publicized for public views and opinions before submit to the National Legislation Assembly for enactment.

          The first Bill is on national reform has principles to appoint a national reform committee to designate criteria, means and timeframe on reformation. There will be a reform plan, with implementation, monitoring, inspecting, evaluating and mechanisms to incorporate public and state agents participation.

          The second is on national strategy and principles are to appoint a strategic committee to designate goals and timeframe, contents, monitoring and evaluating mechanisms to achieve those goals as well as how to incorporate all societal sectors participation and views.

    EC appointed a Political Party Development Committee

          On 7 March the Election Commission appointed a Political Party Development Committee of 20 members. The chairperson is Dr. Anek Laothamatat. Functions are to make a strategic plan on political party development in line with the 2017 Constitution, provide information on political parties to the public and promote public inspection and support on political parties. They also authorized to monitor and appraise the spending of the political party development fund.
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