The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Offences represents Thailand’s latest effort in its battle against corruption. The new court, established under the recently enacted Act on the Establishment of Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Offence B.E. 2559 (2016), will have jurisdiction over most corruption-related charges and is expected to begin hearing cases as early as October 2016 (until such time, any compliant under the act should be filed with the Division of Corruption and Misconduct of State Authorities at the Criminal Court).
The act sets out various “corruption” and “misconduct” cases over which the new court will have jurisdiction, including corruption offenses under the Criminal Code, money laundering offenses, failure to declare assets or the submission of a false declaration of assets, charges of unusual wealth, as well as any offense considered “corruption” or “misconduct” under the act. Claims under the Organic Act on Counter Corruption and the Administrative Measures for Anti-Corruption would also fall under the jurisdiction of the new court.
Under the act, “corruption” is defined as an action taken by a state official, or failure of such state official to perform duties, in exchange for property or other benefit (such as in connection with obtaining a license, awarding a contract, or filling a false statement), while “misconduct” is defined as an action taken by a state official, or failure of such state official to perform duties, in violation of the laws, notifications, regulations, rules, or cabinet resolutions which are aimed to restrict state officials from receiving, collecting and distributing state property.
The new court’s jurisdiction is sweeping, as it will hear “corruption” and “misconduct” claims committed within or outside of Thailand involving those responsible for the “supply” side of corruption (state officials) as well as those on the “demand” side (e.g. individuals or entities paying bribes to state officials). The term “state officials” (as used in the definitions of “corruption” and “misconduct”) is broadly defined to include both Thai and foreign state officials and refers to the definition of such term as found in the Criminal Code, the Organic Act on Counter Corruption, the Act on the Administrative Measures for Anti-Corruption.
By Piyawannee Watanasakolpunt and Suthasiness Neamsum