Death penalty for officials convicted of graft

Death penalty for officials convicted of graft

Convicted officials in corruption cases involving more than 1 billion baht could face the death penalty under a proposal approved on Monday by the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA).

Those who found guilty in cases with damage between 100 million and 1 billion baht could also face life in prison.

In both cases, the sentences may not be suspended or reduced. 

Of the 162 steering committee members present on Monday, 155 voted in favour of the measure while the rest abstained.

"We will take recommendations from legislators before forwarding them," a member said.

The proposal must now be submitted to the cabinet and parliament for deliberation before it becomes law.

During the debate, some of the members argued the measure would not tackle corruption at its roots and the penalties were not internationally acceptable.

But Wanchai Sornsiri, the NRSA's  political reform chairman, said the NSRA did not propose anything new. "The penalty is already in Section 18 of the Criminal Code, which prescribes imprisonment, asset seizure, life imprisonment or death," he said.

Previous legislation provided capital punishment for officials convicted of bribery, although no official has ever been executed for the crime.

The measure is part of the NRSA's report on controls, checks and balances on the exercise of state power. The report also aims to regulate no-confidence debates, clarify the qualifications of members of independent organisations and require them to declare assets.

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