Graftbuster eager to widen assets investigation scope

Graftbuster eager to widen assets investigation scope

The anti-graft agency chief has floated the idea of having officers of the Revenue Department and investigative organisations declare their assets.

National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) chairman Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said the NACC is going to propose requiring groups of government officials to declare their assets, with priority groups including Revenue Department officials and those of other agencies who do investigative work.

He made the comments while delivering a speech to mark two decades of the NACC during which he pledged that over the next two years the watchdog would wrap up any unfinished cases and would strive to become more agile over the next three.

He also noted that currently the agency has more than 700 staff members nationwide.

So far, there are 14,532 unresolved cases. In 2019, the NACC accepted 10,568 cases and has completed 7,248 of those, he said.

He added that in the present climate people will no longer tolerate corruption and his agency was working hard to prevent its occurrence at all levels. In a high-profile case, NACC deputy secretary-general Prachuap Sawasdiprasong led the investigation into the assets of the former chief of Revenue Department Satit Rungkasiri.

They included 318 kilogrammes of gold bars worth 596.4 million baht which had been frozen by the NACC.

It was the first time such a high-value of assets had been investigated. The gold has since been deposited at the Bank of Thailand.

In 2016, the Revenue Department stepped up its crackdown on false tax invoices while encouraging more individuals and operators to pay tax correctly.

The department announced the arrest of a gang masquerading as a building materials distributor in Nonthaburi province that allegedly bought fake tax invoices from several companies and sold them for a combined 1 billion baht to more than 500 companies.

The scam cost the government 4.3 billion baht in lost revenue between 2012 and 2013 and allegedly involved Mr Satit.

Three high-ranking department officials were also sacked and another was forced to resign over his involvement.

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