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Council urges far stronger anti-graft penalties

Corruption laws need to be made a fiercer deterrent by scrapping the statute of limitations and imposing punishment not only on those convicted but also several generations of their families as well as their nominees, according to the Political Development Council.

President Thirapat Serirangsan said yesterday that the council on Monday proposed to the National Council for Peace and Order several measures to combat corruption, which were agreed upon by the country's key anti-graft agencies after several brainstorming sessions.

They include reforming Thais' values by passing laws such as an Integrity Pact to promote integrity among politicians and instil morality and anti-corruption culture in children, preventing bribery by punishing both givers and takers, and revamping bidding and procurement procedures.

Mega-project proposals must incorporate a corruption risk assessment and a prevention plan.

To prevent corruption in state enterprises, police and public prosecutors must not be allowed to sit on any of their boards. State enterprises must follow the same information-disclosure standards as listed companies.

Strengthening media, private sector

Anti-corruption funds must be established to strengthen the media's and private sector's roles in combating corruption and revamping laws to promote freedom of expression and civil rights and raise the standard of media professionals.

The Information Disclosure Act should be amended to facilitate public access to official records.

The old law should be reinstated that levies heavy penalties on seven generations of a convict's family and extends the statute of limitations on corruption cases to 30 years or indefinitely.

The damaged party in corruption cases should be allowed to file suits directly against corrupt officials.

New laws should be issued to protect people who help check officials for irregularities, boost efficiency in prosecuting corruption cases and prohibit conflicts of interest.

To enhance the efficiency of anti-corruption agencies such as the Anti-Money Laundering Office, National Anti-Corruption Commission and Office of the Auditor-General, these agencies must be given autonomy in terms of budget and personnel management and must be able to work independently of politicians.

The junta should also sign the international convention to fight corruption, the development council says.


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