Cops top list of corruption cases heard in graft court

Cops top list of corruption cases heard in graft court

The police force has topped the list of defendants involved in corruption and malfeasance cases that are heard by the specialised Corruption Court with a total of 402 policemen facing lawsuits.

The findings were revealed in a report released by the Office of Courts of Justice to mark the 136th anniversary of the judiciary in April.

The Corruption Court was launched in October 2016 to speed up trials for corruption cases. Currently, there are nine regional courts and one central one in Bangkok.

Among state officials, police officers face the highest number of corruption and malfeasance lawsuits, followed by the Interior Ministry where 368 officials have been slapped with lawsuits.

Tambon administrative organisations (TAOs) are ranked third with 351 staff facing corruption and malfeasance lawsuits, followed by the Education Ministry with 348 officials indicted with graft and malfeasance.

Municipal administrations come at 5th place with 195 workers tried for corruption and malfeasance.

Based on the report, the top five charges heard by corruption courts in 2017 are malfeasance in office or omission of duty by state officials (Section 157 of the Criminal Code); embezzlement by state officials (Section 147 of the Criminal Code), abuse of positions by state officials (Section 151); endorsement of falsified documents by state officials (Section 162); and bribery involving individuals.

The Corruption Court was launched in line with legislation setting it up which was passed by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) in June 2016 to fast-track corruption and malfeasance cases.

When it first started work, there were 70 cases pending.

According to the report, a total of 1,178 criminal lawsuits involving graft and corruption were lodged with courts nationwide in 2017. Of those, 762 cases were finalised, accounting for 64.69%.

There were only four civil corruption lawsuits brought before the court but none were finalised.

About 34.78% of the cases (265) were finalised within three months and about 19.82% (151) were settled between six months and one year.

Of all cases, only 33 initially entered an out-of-court settlement process and eight of them were cancelled.

Eight cases were settled through this process and 14 failed and the remaining cases were still ongoing.

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