On 9 July 2015, the Government Gazette published Amendment No. 3 to the Anti-Corruption Law, 1999, which came into effect on 10 July 2015. The reason for this amendment is to comply with international standards for prevention and suppression of corruption, which Thailand ratified under the treaty of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), 2003.
The amendment stipulates the offenses related to the acceptance or offering of bribes to state officials of both Thailand and foreign countries, and agencies of international organizations (“Officials”). Under the amendment, a “State official of a foreign country” is defined as a person in a legislative, administrative, or judicial position, and a person performing in any function of foreign government, whereas an “agency of international organization” is defined as a person performing in any function of, or on behalf of, the international organization. Significant offenses, according to the amendment, and their respective punishments are as follow:
- To impose punishment on Officials who have demanded, accepted, or agreed to accept assets or other benefits for themselves or others, in order to do, or refrain from doing, anything in functions, whether it is legitimate or not, to a maximum of life imprisonment or death.
- To impose punishment on any person who has dishonestly, wrongfully, or by personal influence, demanded, accepted, or agreed to accept assets or other benefits in order to persuade Officials to do, or refrain from doing, anything in functions, whether beneficial or harmful for any person, to a maximum of five years imprisonment.
- To impose punishment on any person who has given, offered, or agreed to give assets or other benefits to Officials in order to persuade them to do, delay, or refrain from doing, anything wrongfully, to a maximum of five years imprisonment.
- If a person who has committed the offense is related to a juristic person, e.g. an employee or agent, or performing for, or on behalf of, that juristic person, and the offense is committed for the benefit of the juristic person without appropriate internal control of that juristic person to prevent commission of such offense, that juristic person shall be subject to penalty of a fine from one time but not exceeding twice the value of the assets received from the commission of the offense.
The law also empowers the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and file lawsuits with the courts against Officials of both Thailand and foreign countries, and agencies of international organizations, or any person from the private sector, under the offenses in this law. Furthermore, the law will facilitate and accommodate cross-border investigations with international organizations to be in accordance with international laws regarding anti-corruption. The courts are also empowered to forfeit assets in corruption lawsuits based on the real value of assets received from the commission of offenses, by complying with the standards of forfeiture of assets. Finally, the Law suspends prescription periods in the case of flight during prosecution, and after conviction by a final judgment.