UN pact tops anti-graft list

The private sector is calling on the government to amend relevant laws to comply with the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

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The proposal is one of the graft-fighting measures that the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) chaired by Pramon Sutivong is proposing to all political parties before the election scheduled for Feb 2.

On Friday, Mr Pramon led ACT members to a meeting with Democrat Party officials. He said the top priority of the crackdown on corruption is to bring Thailand in line with UNCAC.

UNCAC is a multilateral convention negotiated by UN members. It is the first global legally binding anti-corruption instrument.

In 71 articles divided into eight chapters, UNCAC requires states to adopt several anti-corruption measures that may affect their laws, institutions and practices.

These measures are aimed at preventing corruption, criminalising misdeeds, strengthening law enforcement and judicial cooperation, and providing legal mechanisms for asset recovery, among other details.

Mr Pramon said UNCAC calls for the recovery of stolen assets and the pursuit of the assets of former leaders and other officials found to have engaged in corruption as well as their extradition.

More importantly, it makes corruption subject to heavy penalties.

"Certain laws can be amended right away, while some may need more time," said Mr Pramon.

"But addressing the corruption problem will restore people's confidence before the election."

He stressed that any new government must make a serious commitment to tackling corruption, not just promises.

The ACT also wants the bribery bill passed as well as a law requiring state units to reveal public relations and advertising expenses to the public.

Mr Pramon said the private sector is concerned that the ongoing political strife will hit the overall economy hard, especially in terms of investment climate and consumption.

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