Corrupt former DSI chief faces 44 million baht asset seizure

Image courtesy of ThaiPBS World

Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) concluded investigations into two cases involving the corrupt former Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), resulting in significant asset seizures totalling over 44 million baht (US$10 million).

In the initial case, the court ordered the forfeiture of the former DSI’s Director-General Tharit Pengdit’s assets worth 341.80 million baht to the state.

A subsequent ruling on March 19, a continuation of the initial court ruling, saw an additional 44.63 million baht in assets seized, bringing the combined total to more than 386 million baht (US$10 million).

NACC Secretary-General Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, speaking on behalf of the NACC, addressed Tharit’s case to the media through a press conference regarding the judgment by the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct, Section 3.

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The court found Tharit guilty of amassing unusual wealth during his tenure as DSI Director-General and ordered the seizure of his assets totalling 44 million baht.

The investigation revealed a notable increase in Tharit’s assets and a significant decrease in debt, with properties registered under various names, including Tharit Pengdit, Watsamon Pengdit, Piyarerk Atthakarnrat, Sanchai Srithongkul, and Piyathanawat Company Limited.

Asset forfeiture

Following the NACC’s inquiry, the Civil Court referred the case to the Attorney General on September 27, 2018, leading to the assets being forfeited to the state.

Further investigations into other potentially illicit assets registered under different names prompted the NACC to initiate a second case. This case focuses on assets unrelated to those in the first case, which were already subject to court rulings.

In the second case, the NACC determined that Tharit had accumulated assets totalling 53 million baht through abnormal means during his tenure.

The commission compiled evidence and expert opinions, submitting a comprehensive report to the Attorney General to pursue legal proceedings before the Criminal Court for corruption and misconduct.

The recent ruling by the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct, Region 3, involved the transfer of unusually wealthy assets amounting to 44 million baht, along with accrued interest, to the state.

The court mandated Tharit to provide documentation related to the assets and effect their transfer to the government through the Ministry of Finance. Failure to comply will lead to the court enforcing necessary measures.

If Tharit is unable to transfer the assets, he is required to compensate the government with an equivalent value or alternative assets until the obligation is fulfilled.

Any fees paid by Tharit during litigation cannot be refunded under these circumstances, emphasising the seriousness of the court’s directives, reported The Nation.

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Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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