Witness protection agreement signed

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) have reached agreement on cooperating to provide protection for witnesses.

  • Published: 10/07/2013 at 04:08 PM
  • Newspaper section: news

The agreement  was signed on Wednesday by Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, the national police chief, and Narong Rathamarit, the NACC secretary-general.

NACC member Vicha Mahakhun said the anti-graft agency had often been criticised for being too slow in its handling of corruption cases.

One of the problems contributing to the slow investigation process was that witnesses are reluctant to testify  because they fear for their personal safety, he said.

The agreement on witness protection should help give witnesses the courage to testify, leading to the punishment of the culprits.

People entitled to protection as witnesses under the Witness Protection Act include petitioners, complainants, informers and damaged parties.

When the NACC passes a resolution to protect a witness, it can now directly ask the RTPO and other agencies to cooperate.

In a case of urgency, where a witness is under threat or feels intimidated, police can be asked to provide protection even before the NACC officially resolves to ask for help, Mr Vicha said.

The identity, address and other information about a witness under protection will be kept confidential.  If necessary, witnesses will be lodged in a safehouse, he said.

Their identity will also not be revealed in court. They will be able to testify via video conference.

Witnesses under protection  were also entitled to any reward offered by the authorities for information leading to the arrest of suspects in that  case.

The NACC can also keep accomplices in a corruption case as protected witnesses. They will remain under protection until the case is concluded, without being charged, Mr Vicha said.

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