Customs bounty to be scrapped
Customs authorities will no longer be rewarded by bounties after complaints from operators that the financial incentive has hampered their business.
- Published: 26/03/2013 at 07:49 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
Deputy director-general of the Customs Department Yuttana Yimgarund said on Tuesday the Finance Ministry agrees with a recommendation by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to abolish a section in the Customs Act regarding bounties for officials who arrest customs violators.
The proposal to abolish the bounty rewards has been forwarded to the Council of State for a legal opinion. The ministry will seek cabinet approval if the state legal advising agency returns the proposal, Mr Yuttana said.
Exporters and importers have cried foul to the ministry about business obstructions by customs authorities trying to fault their business in order to receive bounties.
Officials at the department have argued that the bounty is an incentive to crack down on operators trying to evade import or export taxes.
But the NACC has said that the bounty itself is a disincentive to honest operation, as it enables corruption through false statements. Bounties give Custom authorities benefits above and beyond those available in other state agencies.
The decision is an apparent victory who have been opposing the bounty system for years. The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) first called for the scrapping of bounties in 2002.
A bounty is set from 10% to 55% of the value of the seized products, according to the Customs Act.
The NACC, however, describes the bounty as a loophole for corruption.
The department seizes tax-avoided products worth at least four billion baht every year, and pays bounties of millions to officials who make the arrests.
About the author
- Writer: Wichit Chantanusornsiri
- Position: Business Reporter