Thailand must show its sincerity in fighting graft by rushing ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, both private and public sectors urged over the weekend.
Thailand became a signatory to the pact in 2003. Ratifying the UNCAC could also help return ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to stand trial here in the near future or speed up the trial of well-known financier Rakesh Saxena, the roundtable pointed out.
All UNCAC signatories – 135 countries at present – are obliged to coordinate with each another on mutual legal assistance and asset recovery for crimes, even to the extent of extradition.
Signatories must also support international investigation and apprehension among member countries.
Dusit Nontanakorn, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the private sector is proceeding with cracking down on corruption among themselves, but the government should move in the same direction by ratifying the convention as soon as possible.
“It’s quite strange that we apply to be a member of the pact and we will be the host country of IACC but we have not yet ratified it,” he said.
Utis Kaothien, a senior expert of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, said ratification is one of the key measures against corruption. It will allow Thailand to gain social recognition and quick responses to its proposals.
The government should set a time frame for ratification since it has been a member for years, he said.
The government has defended the delay by saying it needs to amend laws, which will take time, to facilitate the signing.
United Nations Convention Against Corruption, highlights
Corruption can be prosecuted after the fact, but first and foremost, it requires prevention. An entire chapter of the Convention is dedicated to prevention, with measures directed at both the public and private sectors. These include model preventive policies, such as the establishment of anticorruption bodies and enhanced transparency in the financing of election campaigns and political parties. States must endeavour to ensure that their public services are subject to safeguards…
The Convention requires countries to establish criminal and other offences to cover a wide range of acts of corruption, if these are not already crimes under domestic law. In some cases, States are legally obliged to establish offences; in other cases, in order to take into account differences in domestic law, they are required to consider doing so. The Convention goes beyond previous instruments of this kind, criminalizing not only basic forms of corruption…
Countries agreed to cooperate with one another in every aspect of the fight against corruption, including prevention, investigation, and the prosecution of offenders. Countries are bound by the Convention to render specific forms of mutual legal assistance in gathering and transferring evidence for use in court…
In a major breakthrough, countries agreed on asset-recovery, which is stated explicitly as a fundamental principle of the Convention. This is a particularly important issue for many developing countries where high-level corruption has plundered the national wealth, and where resources are badly needed for reconstruction and the rehabilitation of societies…