Thailand updates Counter Corruption Act

John FormichellaPartner, Blumenthal Richter & Sumet

Thailand continues to make targeted anti-corruption interventions as part of its ongoing drive towards greater accountability and transparency. It introduced the Organic Act on Counter Corruption (No. 3) B.E. 2558 (2015) (the “Act”) on 10 July 2015 to comply with its international obligations for the prevention of corruption under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which Thailand ratified on 1st March 2011.

Significant amendments of the Act are as follows:

1. The terms “Foreign Public Official” and “Official of a Public International Organization” have been added:

Foreign Public Official means “any person holding a legislative, executive, administrative or judicial office of a foreign country, and any person exercising a public function for a foreign country, including for a public agency or public enterprise, whether appointed or elected, whether permanent or temporary, whether paid or unpaid.”

Official of a Public International Organization means “an international civil servant or any person who is authorized by such an organization to act on behalf of that organization.”

2. The National Counter Corruption Commission (“Commission”) has been granted the following powers:

(a) To enquire and decide that a Foreign Public Official or an Official of a Public International Organization, or any other person, has committed the criminal offence of bribery; and

(b) To enquire and decide on criminal offences that are subject to the powers of the Commission which have been committed outside the Kingdom of Thailand.

3. For the purpose of performance of its duties, the Commission shall have the power to cooperate with relevant agencies so as to entrust the Commission’s officials to provide support and assistance, and to carry out particular acts as necessary.

4. The President of the Commission shall promptly hold a meeting to inspect any declaration, submission or receipt of accounts showing the particulars of assets and liabilities of state officials, state officials holding high-ranking executive positions, and those of their spouses and children who have not yet become sui juris, and to inspect the accuracy and actual existence of assets and liabilities of such persons. In this regard, the Commission may entrust its officials to perform the aforesaid duties and report to it for consideration.

5. The Commission shall conduct a fact-based inquiry into the circumstances of any allegation of bribery that is made to the Commission against a Foreign Public Official, an Official of a Public International Organization, or any private sector person.

6. Provisions regarding criminal proceedings against Foreign Public Officials, Officials of Public International Organizations, and private sector persons have been added.

7. Bribery as a criminal offence for Foreign Public Officials, Officials of Public International Organizations, and private sector persons has been established.

8. In the event that an offender commits bribery for the benefit of an entity with which he/she has a connection or liability, a penalty shall be imposed on such entity, provided that it has not adopted proper internal control measures to prevent the commission of the offence. “Connected Persons” shall include employees, representatives, affiliates, or any person acting for or on behalf of the entity, whether authorized or unauthorized.

9. The Court shall, besides having the power to confiscate under the law as specifically prescribed for such purpose, have the power to confiscate the proceeds of crime derived or obtained, whether directly or indirectly, from or through the commission of bribery by state officials, Foreign Public Officials, and Officials of Public International Organizations, unless such proceeds belong to person(s) not involved in the commission of the offence.

This article contains information in summary form and shall be understood as general information only. It is not to be understood as and is not to be relied upon as legal advice.

© John P. Formichella. All rights reserved.