ACT report exposes a decade of corruption involving politicians in Thailand

Picture courtesy of Thai-Asia Bulletin.

The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) recently published a report detailing graft cases involving politicians over the past decade. The most significant financial loss, amounting to 130 billion baht, was caused by the rice-pledging scheme.

The report studied 61 cases involving a total of 68 politicians, analysing media coverage, investigations by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and rulings by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions and the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases from 2012 onwards.

Following the rice-pledging scheme, the next highest financial damage came from the Klong Dan wastewater treatment project, with estimated losses of 24.9 billion baht. In total, eight of the 61 examined graft cases were related to procurement, and together, they cost Thailand 52 billion baht, Bangkok Post reported.

ACT’s Secretary-General, Mana Nimitmongkol, explained that the report aimed to raise public awareness about the severe consequences of corruption and encourage people to reject it. He said that politicians often rely on complicated schemes and exploit legal loopholes to avoid getting caught. Not only MPs, senators, and members of the National Legislative Assembly but also cabinet ministers can resort to corrupt practices. Mana said…

“Wrongdoing can happen in any state agency, and the accused do not have to be cabinet ministers. MPs, members of parliamentary committees, and their networks can hurt the country. Politicians, elected and appointed, can be corrupt.”

He added that while many cases are filed with the National Anti-Corruption Commission and referred to the court, the process is slow, and there are a limited number of cases where the accused are found guilty.

The report observed that in most high-profile corruption cases, politicians are believed to be the masterminds, but the prosecutions tend to involve state officials. Examples include the rubber gloves case (2 billion baht) and the police station project (5.8 billion baht).

According to the report, several politicians accused of corruption plan to participate in the upcoming election.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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