Throughout the past year, a notable 2,748 cases were taken up for formal investigation by the national enforcement agency. The individuals deemed responsible for the remaining cases were justly passed onto the relevant law enforcement bodies. This admission comes directly from the mouthpiece of the agency, General Secretary Niwatchai Kasemmongkol.
Remarkably, the majority of corruption allegations — a whopping 34.59%, or 1,548 of all investigated instances — were made against local administration organizations. Only trailed by the Interior Ministry and the Royal Thai Police, fielding 507 and 409 cases, respectively. These tallies underscore the gravity of systemic corruption in our country’s institutions.
The recurring theme among these allegations? The culprit appears to be the stark violation of section 157 of our nation’s Criminal Code. This section addresses nonfeasance or dereliction of duty by state officials — an issue that seems troublingly rampant.
So, what’s the cost of such rampant corruption? According to Niwatchai, the total damages purportedly inflicted reach a staggering 134.3 billion baht, or over 4 billion USD. The majority of these damages, nearing 100 billion baht, are due to dereliction of duty by state officials — an unacceptable blow to our economy. Procurement-process graft accounts for an additional 2 billion baht chunk of this sum.
An alarming trend that has emerged among corruption allegations in the last year is the rising number tied to natural resources and the environment. Consecutive fiscal years 2018-2022 have seen an average of 150 cases annually. However, this past year, the number of environmental corruption cases has shot up to 247 – a worrying increase.
Niwatchai further pointed out that the agency is prepping to press charges against ten politicians for presumably unlawful land masquerading. One of these includes the case against Pita Limjaroenrat, a leader of the Move Forward party. Insiders have alleged that Pita sold 14 rai of land in Prachuap Khiri Khan province for 6 million baht when the land had a reported value of 18 million baht.
Niwatchai voiced concerns over the case’s merit, specifically since a land seller can lawfully establish any selling price at their discretion. However, the agency will be probing into why the value of the land saw a swift decrease, he added.
In parallel, renowned legislator Pita, the only potential candidate for prime minister for the prominent winning party in the nationwide elections, is caught under the lens of the Constitutional Court. The impending investigation alleges Pita’s violation of election law, associated with supposed media share ownership.
In conclusion, the Constitutional Court is also reviewing a claim against Pita and his Move Forward Party. The lawsuit is linked to the party’s proposal to amend section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code or lèse-majesté law, heightening Pita’s troubles.