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Anti-corruption In Thailand

1. Bribery in the home (private to public)

1.1 The Legal Environment

The Thai Penal Code makes it illegal for a private party to offer property or other benefits to an official for the purpose of inducing the official to act, omit to act, or delay acting, contrary to the official’s functions; or for an official to accept or demand property or other benefits for the purpose of inducing the official to act in accordance with the official’s functions. Bribery of public officials, legislators, public prosecutors, judges, and inquiry officials is prohibited by the Penal Code; soliciting or accepting gifts by public servants, public prosecutors, and judges is prohibited by the Penal Code; (iii) malfeasance of public officials to obtain property or benefits is prohibited by the Penal Code; and (iv) malfeasance of public prosecutors and judges for property or benefits is prohibited by the Penal Code.

1.2 What does bribery mean?

Although the Thai Penal Code lacks a specific definition of bribery, pertinent legal clauses can be used to deduce its meaning.

Bribery is defined as giving or promising to give property or any other benefit to an official, member of a state legislative assembly, member of a state legislative assembly or provincial assembly, or member of a municipal assembly, official holding a judicial position, public prosecutor, or official responsible for conducting cases or inquiries, in order to induce such person to do or not do any act, or to deceive such person.

Bribery can be committed by both public officials and private individuals who seek to bribe any public official, state legislative assembly members, province or municipal assembly members, public prosecutors, inquiry officials, judges, or execution officers, according to Thailand’s Penal Code.

1.3 What does it mean to be a public official?

Members of the state legislative assembly, members of provincial and municipal legislatures, public prosecutors, inquiry officials, judges, and execution officers are all considered “public officials” under Thailand’s Penal Code.

The following are two criteria established by Supreme Court precedent that provide a broad definition of a public official under the Thai Penal Code:

  • The Thai government appoints someone to this position.

  • To the Kingdom of Thailand’s public service

  • It’s worth noting that the meaning of “public official” varies based on the applicable Act governing the offence in question.

“State Official” is defined as a person in a political position; a government official or local government official or employee holding a position or receiving a regular salary; an employee or person who performs work in a state enterprise or state agency; a local administrative officer under the Act Supplementing the Constitution Relating to the Prevention and Suppression of Corruption B.E. 2542.

The term “Officer” is defined in the Act on Offenses by Officers in State Organizations or Agencies, B.E. 2502, as a board chairman, president, board member, or person who performs work in an organization, limited company, registered partnership, or agency, or a work unit otherwise named, where the state owns all or more than half of the capital, and who receives a monthly stipend.

1.4 Bribery and its Consequences

Under the Penal Code (Titles II and III) or other relevant legislation, the penalties vary depending on whether the individual committing the offense is a private party bribing a public official or a public official receiving a bribe.

(a) Penalties for bribing public officials by a private party

In the case of a private individual:

  • Bribing a public official, member of the state legislative assembly, or member of a provincial or municipal assembly to act, refrain from acting, or postpone acting is punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine of up to THB 10,000, or both.

  • For agreeing to give a benefit to a judicial official, a public prosecutor, an inquiry official, a judge, or an execution officer such that such person will wrongfully perform or not perform any act or will delay in acting, a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a maximum fine of THB 14,000 is imposed.

  • For collaborating in the submission of bids to provide a benefit by avoiding fair competition, preventing the offer of other goods or services, or taking advantage of government agencies, offenders face one to three years in prison or a fine equal to 50 percent of the highest bid by offenders or the contract value, whichever is higher.

  • For offering money or benefits to influence a person to make a high or low bid, or to stop from bidding or withdraw a bid, offenders face a sentence of one to five years in jail and a fine of 50 percent of the highest bid by offenders or the contract’s value, whichever is higher.

  • Forcing a person, including by force or violence, to involuntarily participate or not participate in the submission of bids or to withdraw bids, the penalty is five to ten years in prison and a fine equal to 50 percent of the offenders’ highest bid or the value of the contract, whichever is higher.

  • For employing deceptive tactics to deprive others of the opportunity to make fair submissions or to create a mistaken submission of bids, the penalty is one year to five years in prison and a fine of 50 percent of the offenders’ highest bid or the contract value, whichever is higher.

  • For dishonestly submitting a low or high offer, the offenders face a sentence of one to three years in jail or a fine equal to 50 percent of the highest bid.

(ii) In the case of a private firm or legal body

  • Bribing a public official to act or stop from acting is punishable by a fine of up to THB 10,000.

  • For agreeing to give a reward to an official to wrongfully do or not do any act, a punishment of not more than THB 14,000 is imposed.

b) Sanctions against public officials who solicit or receive bribes

For abuse of public power by compulsion, a fine of THB 2,000 to THB 40,000, or death, and a fine of THB 2,000 to THB 40,000, or both, is imposed, as well as a fine of THB 2,000 to THB 40,000, or both.

For an officer with a duty of managing business who takes an interest in the business for his or others’ benefit; or for an officer with a duty related to disbursement who makes a disbursement to himself or others; or for an officer who unlawfully performs or fails to perform a duty, the penalty is one year to ten years in prison or a fine of THB 2,000 to THB 20,000, or both.

An officer guilty of misappropriation faces a sentence of five to twenty years in jail, or life, and a punishment of THB 2,000 to THB 40,000, as well as a fine of THB 2,000 to THB 40,000 if he or she is a procurement officer.

For an officer who acts or refrains from acting based on benefits he consented to receive prior to appointment or procurement, a fine of THB 2,000 to THB 40,000 is imposed, as well as a fine of THB 2,000 to THB 40,000 for an officer who unlawfully exercises his power, causing damage to the organization.

An official who uses compulsion to obtain property, or an officer who improperly requests benefits, faces a sentence of five to twenty years in jail, or life in prison, or the death penalty, as well as a fine of THB 2,000 to THB 40,000.

Malfeasance by an officer having the authority to approve or assess bids can result in a sentence of one year to ten years in jail and a fine of THB 20,000 to THB 200,000.20

For an official who dishonestly creates pricing specifications, conditions, or bribes in order to hinder fair competition; or for an official who blocks fair competition during bidding, the penalty is five to twenty years in jail, or life, and a fine of THB 100,000 to THB 400,000.21

A political officer, holder of political office, local administrator, member of a local administrative council or committee, or sub-committee member who violates the Act on Offenses Relating to the Submission of Bids to Government Agencies B.E. 2542, or commits any act against officials in relation to the Act on Offenses Relating to the Submission of Bids to Government Agencies B.E. 2542, or commits any act against officials in relation to the Act on Off

1.5 Contributions from politics

The Act Supplementing the Constitution Concerning Political Parties (B.E. 2550) regulates contributions to political parties. A party leader, members of the party’s administrative committee and sub-administrative committee, and general party members are all barred from obtaining personal contributions or perks from an unknown source. The law takes various measures in this regard.