This success story has been provided by the Thailandian Anti-Corruption Authority and is posted on this site in its original form.
A former high ranking public authority of Thailand is currently under allegation of corruption and malfeasance in office by receiving over $ 1.7 million in exchange for awarding multiple contracts to organize the Bangkok International Film Festival to an American couple during 2000-2006. The case is undergoing investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
Request of NACC submitted to the Attorney General, as the Central Authority of Thailand, on 15 May 2009 with the view to seeking mutual legal assistance from the U.S. authorities has revealed certain convincing evidences that Gerald Green and his wife, Patricia Green, the American entrepreneur of Film Festival Management, Inc. and many other business associated enterprises, paid in excess of $ 1.7 million to Jittisopa Siriwan, the daughter of Juthamas Siriwan, the former Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Kitti Chambundabungse, Juthamas’ friend, as well as occasionally by cash delivery to Juthamas in person. These payments were regarded as bribe given in order to obtain contracts to manage the Bangkok International Film Festival and other activities during 2000-2006 when Juthamas maintained the position of the Governor of TAT. Gerald Green and Patricia Green were prosecuted and already convicted by the U.S. court.
On the part of Juthamas, misconduct while maintaining the position of the Governor of TAT constitutes a criminal offence under the Act on the Offence of the Officials in Public Organization, B.E. 2542 (1999), as well as the offence of corruption and malfeasance of high ranking official under the Organic Act on Counter Corruption, B.E. 2542 (1999). In addition, Juthamas and her daughter, Jittisopa were also charged by the U.S. Attorney of a money laundering conspiracy under Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h), Section 1956(a)(2)(A), and criminal forfeiture, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 982(a)(1), Title 21, United States Code, Section 853, and Title 28, United States Code, Section 246(c).
Actually, this case was initiated by the investigation under the scheme of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Attorney for the Central District of California regarding the corrupt payments made to influence the awarding of contracts with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, including a contract to manage the Bangkok International Film Festival pursuant to the offence of Corrupt Payments to a Foreign Official under Title 15, United States Code, Section 78dd-2. Revelation of many convincing facts and evidences related to this transnational bribery scandal which include payments of kickback through bank accounts of nominees as a means to conceal the illicit proceeds and corrupt practice has led to the request for investigative assistance from Thailand under the Treaty between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the United States of America on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters to confirm the creditability of facts finding, as well as to fulfill certain essential documentary evidences required for the indictment of the wrongdoers. As a result of successful investigation, the indictment was established and led to the conviction of the offenders by the U.S. court. This success is also significant to Thailand because the once undercover corruption of a high ranking official has become unfolded which led eventually to the resignation of the former Governor of TAT and the initiative of investigation of the scandal by NACC.
For the satisfied outcome of the investigation, certain forms of assistance from U.S. authorities were considered necessary, therefore, through International Affairs Department, Office of the Attorney General of Thailand which is the instrumentality office of the Attorney General, the Central Authority of Thailand, a request for mutual legal assistance was made to the Ministry of Justice of the United States of America whereby the appropriate U.S. authorities were requested:
a) To take the testimony and statement of one of the Special Agent who had collected evidences and conduct investigation for proceeding against Gerald Green and Patricia Green, of how she obtained the statement, testimony, of witnesses, documents, and other evidences related to the discovery of the incident and money trafficking,
b) To provide a whole copy of oral evidences of the case as well as affidavit of the Special Agent conducting investigation in supporting the complaint and application for the arrest warrants of Gerald Green and his wife,
c) To provide a whole copy of documentary evidences which included the receipt of 10,095,179 USD paid by the Government of Thailand to the Los Angeles-area business owned and operated by Gerald Green and Patricia Green whereby over 1.7 million USD had been transferred to bank accounts of Jittisopa, the daughter of Juthamas Siriwan, and subjects held in Singapore, the United Kingdom and the Isle of Jersey,
d) To provide updated progress and details of proceeding against Gerald Green and Patricia Green.
Upon, the amicable cooperation from the U.S. authorities whereby crucial evidences were obtained through the mechanism of mutual legal assistance, the investigation on the part of Thai authorities was able to be furthered and the conclusion to bring about the successful prosecution and conviction of the offender is not too far to be expected. This is, of course, the remaining challenge the Thai society has to overcome.
Although difficulty in tracing corruption in particular the high ranking official’s corruption as well as the uncertainty to attain to the successful prosecution and conviction in every case is inherently deemed a key challenge caused by transnational bribery and other forms of corrupt practice, effort on the part of law enforcement and international cooperation to combat such criminal activities like this case is somehow a positive sign of cognizance and courage on the part of our society to cope with them. The successful prevention and suppression of corruption will not be able to be fostered without awareness and inspiration of the public to take action.
* Sirisak Tiyapan is currently the Director-General of the Office of the Attorney-General's Foreign Affairs Department.
Source: The World Bank Department of Institutional Integrity