NACC will issue a new regulation requiring financial institutions to report all major financial transactions involving politicians and government officials. Financial institutions will be required to report to NACC all cash transactions of more than Baht 500,000 and transactions which involve assets or property worth more than Baht 1 million and involve any politicians and government officials obliged by law to periodically declare their assets and liabilities. These include politicians and government officials at both the national and local levels.
Under the current reporting requirements, financial institutions are required to report to the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) financial transactions involving at least Baht 2 million. The new reporting requirements will place additional burdens on financial institutions, as they will be required to report to both AMLO and NACC, and the volume of reports is expected to increase due to the lower reporting threshold.
Mega-infrastructure projects under review
In June 2014, NCPO ordered a review of 28 mega-infrastructure projects worth Baht 40 billion which were initiated or proposed by the previous government. The projects under review may be subject to cancellation or downsizing if found to be not transparent, too expensive or not in the interest of the public. Any findings of irregularity will also be forwarded to the NACC and the Auditor-General's Office. Two out of the 28 projects under review will probably be cancelled, including the proposal by the Royal Irrigation Department to build a reservoir in the central region and the project of the Education Ministry which provides free tablet computers to elementary school students.
NCPO has also ordered state enterprises to seek approval in respect of any project (and certain transactions) with a value of more than Baht 100 million. Such projects must first be submitted to the Ministry of Finance and subsequently to NCPO for final approval.
Restructuring and purging benefits
NCPO has ordered the boards of 56 state enterprises to review the privileges accorded to their members and to submit proposals to the Ministry of Finance to cut benefits. For instance, the Thai Airways International board, currently chaired by an NCPO deputy, has decided to cut generous free flight benefits for its board members and members of their families. This followed the resignations of leaders of several state enterprises (including chairmen of PTT, PTT affiliate Thai Oil and Airports of Thailand) after the coup. State enterprises were also asked to make changes in line with NCPO’s policy of streamlined and efficient operations, accountability and good governance.
The interim Constitution of Thailand B.E. 2557 (A.D. 2014) received Royal Assent in late July. It contemplates the establishment of a National Legislative Assembly (NLA). 200 members of the NLA were appointed on August 31,2014 and the inaugural meeting of the NLA was held on 7 August. A majority of the members of the NLA are either retired or active members of the Thai armed forces. Several academics have also been appointed, as well as diplomats and prominent businessmen. After the establishment of the NLA, NCPO is expected to propose several bills for approval by the NLA in relation to anti-corruption and money-laundering. These include draft bills to amend the Penal Code (to remove the prescription period to bring claims for corruption offences by governmental officers), the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the Anti-Corruption Act. The proposed change to the Anti-Money Laundering Act includes moving AMLO from within the Ministry of Justice to become an independent agency, outside the influence of politicians.
Currently, NACC has the power to investigate only civil servants and politicians suspected of corruption. NACC has proposed an amendment to the law which would allow it to investigate private enterprises suspected of being involved with corruption in the public sector and take legal action against their executives, if appropriate. NACC will also propose changes to the Anti-Corruption Act to streamline its operations. NACC intends to adopt an inquisitorial system (instead of its current adversarial system) in investigations of future corruption cases.