We take graft prosecutions very seriously: Thailand's justice minister

We take graft prosecutions very seriously: Thailand's justice minister
General Paiboon Khumchaya, the Minister of Justice

The government will take prosecutions of corruption and money laundering very seriously, General Paiboon Khumchaya, the Minister of Justice, said yesterday.

He said this at an anti-corruption and money laundering workshop at the Dusit Thani hotel in Pattaya, organised by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). It attracted several top international experts in the field as speakers.

Global experts who attended the workshop included officials from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the International Centre for Asset Recovery of the Basel Institute on Governance, and the deputy head of China's Ministry of Supervision.

"The government has given priority to the prevention and suppression of corruption, as evidenced by its steadfast efforts to eliminate obstacles in the Thai laws and judicial systems to ensure their compliance with international standards," said Justice Minister Paiboon.

General Paiboon pointed to the National Council for Peace and Order's ruling 69/2014, which demonstrates its aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public agencies in fighting corruption in the public sector.

"The Justice Ministry has been assigned to draft financial and accounting forensic laws as well as provide support and expedite amendment of the law under the power of the NACC to allow the agency to tackle corruption more effectively and consistently with international standards and agreements," he said.

Damaging to economy

NACC chairman Panthep Klanarongran said the workshop resulted from cooperation between the NACC and the Chilean Attorney General's office.

Both share the idea that corruption does severe damage to APEC countries' economies, especially developing economies without a systematic methodology in investigation and persecution for graft and money laundering.

The project is the second of three workshops - the first in Chile last year; Pattaya this year; and next year in the Philippines, Panthep said.

The workshops focus on creating a handbook on methodology for well conducted investigations, to improve prosecution of corruption and money laundering cases in APEC member states - and effective asset tracing, freezing and seizure, and confiscating and returning proceeds of corruption.

Hpakdee Pothisiri, an NACC commissioner, said the workshop aimed to develop cooperation with international anti-corruption organisations in order to bring the country's efforts to international standards, especially in the tracing and returning of corruption assets.

He hoped that Thailand would have the tools to tackle the problems to a standard equal to that of other APEC countries.

This was a good opportunity for the country to host such an event so local people can become more aware of government hostility towards corruption.

Attendance at the workshops consisted of officials from 20 countries within the APEC economic area, international and domestic organisations, ambassadors from member countries and NACC commissioners, anti-money laundering officers and prosecutors, police, and official guests from Chon Buri province and Pattaya.

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