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Anurak Tangpanitanon: Supreme Court Upholds Six-Year Jail Sentence in 5-Million-Baht Bribe Case

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Anurak Tangpanitanon, then chairman of a House sub-committee. (Photo: Parliament)

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions took a decisive stand on Tuesday, rejecting an appeal from Anurak Tangpanitanon, a former Pheu Thai MP hailing from Mukdahan province. Anurak’s stint in political office came to a dramatic and ignominious end, with the court upholding a six-year jail sentence tied to a notorious 5-million-baht bribe scandal.

Anurak’s downfall began during his tenure on the House committee scrutinizing the 2021 budget bill. In a shocking turn of events, he was found guilty of demanding a hefty bribe from Sakda Wichiansilp, the director-general of the Department of Groundwater Resources. The unsavory deal was simple: in exchange for the bribe, Anurak would turn a blind eye and ensure the department’s budget allocation remained untouched. However, Sakda’s decision to come clean exposed the corruption that had quietly lingered behind closed doors.

Back on April 25 of last year, the Supreme Court, making use of its Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions, delivered a scorching verdict. Anurak was found guilty of breaching both the Criminal Code and the country’s stringent anti-corruption laws. The implications were severe—a six-year prison term, loss of his MP status which he had held since April 19, 2021, and a lifetime ban from running for any political office, along with a ten-year voting ban.

Despite the damning judgement, Anurak remained defiant and sought to appeal the court’s decision. Yet, hope turned into despair as Tuesday’s ruling saw the Supreme Court dismiss his appeal, upholding the original sentence. Anurak’s fate was sealed; the halls of power were replaced with the cold confines of Bangkok Remand Prison.

Inside sources confirm that the court’s appeal panel thoroughly endorsed the investigation conducted by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). The NACC’s probe, sparked by Sakda’s whistleblowing during a budget review meeting, had left no stone unturned. Sakda had revealed that a sub-committee member blatantly demanded the 5-million-baht bribe in exchange for approving the department’s budget proposal.

The NACC found concrete grounds for the bribe accusations and, with 17 individual testimonies and 10 critical documents, built a robust case that was handed over to the Office of the Attorney-General. Such was the sufficiency and strength of the evidence that it left the appeal panel no choice but to uphold the previous court’s judgement by a majority vote.

Thus, as the legal saga concluded, Anurak Tangpanitanon’s tarnished legacy served as a stark reminder of the perils of corruption. Carried away in custody, his story became a cautionary tale etched in the annals of political history—a powerful reminder that justice, though sometimes delayed, is ultimately served.


  1. Alex T. July 9, 2024

    Justice served! Corruption has no place in our political system. Anurak’s downfall is a necessary example.

    • Cathy L. July 9, 2024

      Totally agree. But isn’t it concerning that so many politicians seem to get away with it?

      • Alex T. July 9, 2024

        Absolutely, Cathy. This case should be a wake-up call for more stringent checks and balances.

      • Joey July 9, 2024

        Maybe we should have harsher penalties. Six years doesn’t seem long enough for what he did.

    • Samir July 9, 2024

      Can’t argue there. Corruption is like a cancer. But is it a bit naive to think this will actually change anything?

    • Natalie July 9, 2024

      While it’s good to see justice, I worry about the other corrupt officials who are more subtle and still in power.

  2. Ben W. July 9, 2024

    The entire system needs reform. This is just one case among countless others. Who knows how deep it all goes?

    • Paula P. July 9, 2024

      You’re right, Ben. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We need more transparency and accountability.

    • Lucas M. July 9, 2024

      I agree with Ben. Corruption runs deep. It’s far from being solved with just one high-profile case.

  3. Fiona28 July 9, 2024

    This case is just a distraction. They’ll make a big deal out of it and act like the problem is solved. It’s all a show.

    • Chris P. July 9, 2024

      Exactly! The real culprits are still out there. This is just to make us believe the system works.

    • Alex T. July 9, 2024

      I understand the skepticism, but small steps can lead to big changes. Let’s not lose hope.

  4. Johnnie July 9, 2024

    Anurak got what he deserved. End of story. No need for further debate.

    • Maya K. July 9, 2024

      Johnnie, while his punishment is deserved, we should still discuss how to prevent future corruption.

    • David L. July 9, 2024

      Exactly, Maya. If corruption continues, we’ll see more Anuraks in the future.

  5. Li Wei July 9, 2024

    It’s interesting how a single whistleblower can bring down a powerful politician. Power to the people!

    • Hannah G. July 9, 2024

      Yes, and it underscores the importance of protecting whistleblowers. They take huge risks.

    • Samir July 9, 2024

      True, but it also shows that not many are willing to step up. Fear of retribution is real.

  6. CorruptionFighter July 9, 2024

    We need more Sakdas in this world. Whistleblowers are the unsung heroes of democracy.

  7. Monica H. July 9, 2024

    I can’t believe Anurak thought he could get away with it. Did he really think no one would speak up?

    • Dan K. July 9, 2024

      Monica, many do get away with it. He was just unlucky or sloppy. It’s a systemic issue.

    • Jennifer July 9, 2024

      True, Dan. But such arrogance shows how normalized corruption has become.

  8. Luis R. July 9, 2024

    Six years in prison and lifelong bans seem fair, but what about the money involved? Did they recover it?

    • Katie S. July 9, 2024

      Good point, Luis. Financial repercussions are important. The money should be returned to the treasury.

    • Ben W. July 9, 2024

      Even if they recovered the money, the damage to trust in the system is immense.

  9. George C. July 9, 2024

    Sometimes I think these high-profile cases are just scapegoats. The real masterminds stay hidden.

  10. Ella J. July 9, 2024

    What about Sakda? He did the right thing but how has his life been impacted since then? Heroes often pay a heavy price.

  11. Francesco July 9, 2024

    It’s amazing that Sakda decided to expose this. Many don’t because they fear losing their jobs or worse.

    • Sarah T. July 9, 2024

      That’s why strong whistleblower protections are crucial. Otherwise, the culture of silence continues.

  12. David R. July 9, 2024

    Politicians exploiting their power for personal gain? Color me shocked… not.

    • Ron Z. July 9, 2024

      David R., sarcasm aside, it’s a serious issue that affects us all. Cynicism won’t solve it.

  13. Megan D. July 9, 2024

    I wonder how many other department heads have faced similar requests for bribes. It’s probably very common.

    • Laura P. July 9, 2024

      Unfortunately, Megan, you’re probably right. Corruption in budget approvals isn’t new.

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