Uncontrolled corruption all over the world has been the motivation for the Thai government to enact laws to govern the corrupt practices of public officials and employees of the government. Although Thailand may have some way to go to curb corruption in Thailand, it has taken positive steps over the years to address the problem. Corruption is defined as an abuse of political or public power or position for personal benefit. In Thailand, the term corruption includes fraud in general.
The Constitution of Thailand mandates that there be an efficient and transparent public service in the country. It directs not only the officials of the government but as well as the employees to be accountable to the people and must maintain an honest public service. Anti-corruption legislation in Thailand is being reviewed due to the rampant disregard of public officers and employees of their sworn duties to favor their own whims and caprices. Declaration of Assets and Liabilities by public officer and employees is also mandated by the Thai Constitution. Such declaration shall be made to an independent and strong counter corruption agency which shall be created under the Thai Constitution.
Thai Constitution is not the only source of anti-corruption campaign in Thailand. In fact, several legislation were passed by the Thai Government to accommodate the growing need for government rehabilitation and elimination of corruption. The Criminal Code of Thailand served as the general reference for imposition of criminal liabilities against the erring and corrupt public officers and employees. Corruption under the Thai Criminal Code includes offenses relating to public administration such as bribery, solicitation and acceptance of gifts, abuse of political position for personal benefit. It also includes malfeasance and vote buying.
Aside from the Constitution and the Criminal Code, to name a few, the legislators of Thailand also enacted the following laws to serve as instruments for fighting corruption in the country:
Anti Money Laundering Act
Organic Act of Counter Corruption
Civil Service Act of 2008
Act Governing Liability for Wrongful Acts of Competent Officers
Organic Act on Ombudsman
Organic Act on Criminal Procedure for persons holding political positions
Several Ministerial Regulations were also enacted to facilitate a fast investigation and prompt action for complaints against corruption.
To foster the campaign against corruption, an independent agency that will facilitate all complaints against corrupt officials was created. This agency is called the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). NACC is tasked to conduct investigation against public officers and employees regarding their declared assets and liabilities as well as unexplained or unusual wealth upon complaint filed against the erring officer. However, NACC can also conduct its own investigation although it received no complaint. This measure ensures the independence and integrity of the Commission. After investigation and examination of assets, the NACC shall forward its report to the Senate of Thailand which in turn will initiate impeachment proceedings against the corrupt official or employee. Investigation reports against officials occupying political positions shall be forwarded to the Attorney General which in turn will forward the same to the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court of Thailand.
It must be remembered that corrupt practices in Thailand can result to an impeachment proceeding or a criminal action against the official or employee.
Anti-Corruption Legislation in Thailand were intended to restore national economy, strengthen national security and impose strict compliance of the rules of law.