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SUNDAY, September 25, 2022
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Anti-graft body to study proposal to waive criminal action for people forced to pay bribes

Anti-graft body to study proposal to waive criminal action for people forced to pay bribes

MONDAY, February 06, 2017
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A PROPOSAL to waive criminal offences against bribe givers who provide useful information on graft to officials will be tabled at the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)’s meeting next week, NACC secretary-general Sansern Poljiek said yesterday.

Sansern said the commissioners would look into the proposal before forwarding recommendation to the government for further consideration. 
A previous study by the agency showed that hitting bribe givers with only a civil lawsuit was more useful for legal proceedings. So, the idea addressed by government figures was a good one, he said.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Friday he had instructed the Finance Ministry to come up with measures such as legal amendments to get cooperation from people who may have succumbed to pressure for bribes from state officials. 
Under current laws on corruption, both bribe givers and those receiving them face criminal prosecution, undermining any cooperation they might give to the state, he said. 
The premier broached the possibility of having more flexibility by charging people who pay bribes with only civil lawsuits, like as some countries do, so the state can benefit from their help.
He tapped his special power under Article 44 of the Interim Charter to press the idea.
But Somkiat Tangkitvanich, president of the Thailand Development Research Institute, disagreed with any move to waive criminal prosecution for all bribe givers who give tips to officials. 
He said people who pay bribes need to be differentiated and categorised, as not all bribers succumbed to pressure for bribes from state officials. Some give bribes willingly for their own benefit such as bribes to advance a state concession. So, the two types of bribers were different and should face different legal responses.
A noted economist, Somkiat said those giving bribes for their own benefit should still face criminal charges as they could cause a lot of damage to the country, while those pressured to give bribes by state officials could be given a waiver of criminal charges so the state can benefit from their revelations.