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Thai Court Orders Seizure of Over $10 Million in Assets from Ex-DSI Chief Following NACC Probe

BANGKOK, THAILAND - Media OutReach Newswire - 17 May 2024 - The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) of Thailand has announced the results of the case involving the former Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), who was sued on charges of unusual wealth in two separate cases.

In the first case, the court ordered the seizure of 341.80 million baht to be forfeited to the state. In the second case, on March 19, 2024, the court ordered the seizure of an additional 44.63 million baht in assets. The total value of the assets confiscated in both cases exceeds 386 million baht or approximately 10.59 million USD.

The NACC's Secretary-General, Mr. Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, acting as a spokesperson for the NACC, recently held a press conference regarding the judgment of the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct, Section 3, in the case of Mr. Tharit Pengdit. While serving as the Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation, Mr. Pengdit was found to have amassed unusual wealth. Consequently, the court ordered the seizure of his assets, totaling 44,630,426 baht, to be forfeited to the state.

The NACC found Mr. Tharit Pengdit, former Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation, guilty of amassing unusual wealth. The investigation revealed a significant increase in his assets and an abnormal decrease in debt, which were properties registered under the names of Mr. Tharit Pengdit, Mrs. Watsamon Pengdit, Mr. Piyarerk Atthakarnrat, Mr. Sanchai Srithongkul, and Piyathanawat Company Limited. Following the NACC's inquiry, the Civil Court issued a judgment. On September 27, 2018, the NACC referred the case to the Attorney General, requesting that the assets be transferred to the government. It was concluded that the accused's assets, totaling 341,797,811.58 baht, along with any interest or derived assets, were to be forfeited to the state.

This pertains to the investigation of the first case, which revealed reasonable grounds to suspect that the accused also possesses other unusually wealthy assets. These assets are registered under the names of Ms. Suthima Chandakoon, Ms. Thanyathorn Danwiboon, Police Lieutenant Colonel Itthiphon Bunphinij, among others, and Mrs. Watsamon Pengdit, the accused's spouse, who used the alias Mrs. Wanthana Phiphatchaisiri, and Mr. Piyarerk Atthakarnrat to purchase a substantial amount of gold bars from Ausiris Company Limited. Consequently, the NACC resolved to conduct a further investigation into Mr. Tharit Pengdit's assets during his tenure as Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation, initiating a second case. The assets under investigation in this second case are separate from those in the first case, which were already subject to the Civil Court's ruling.

In the second case, the NACC has carefully deliberated and concluded that Mr. Tharit Pengdit, during his tenure as Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation, accumulated an unusually large amount of assets, demonstrated abnormal increases in assets, experienced significant decreases in debt, or acquired property without legal basis arising from his official duties or abuse of authority. These assets amount to 53,512,096 baht. Following this determination, the NACC resolved to compile and submit a comprehensive report containing inquiry documents, evidence, and expert opinions to the Attorney General. The purpose is to initiate legal proceedings before the Criminal Court for corruption and misconduct, the competent jurisdiction, and seek an order for the transfer of these unusually wealthy assets to the state.

On March 19, 2024, the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct, Region 3, rendered a verdict in the second case concerning the civil forfeiture of assets to the state, the case involved the Attorney General as the petitioner and Mr. Tharit Pengdit as the accused, along with six objectors. The court ruled that unusually wealthy assets amounting to 44,630,426 baht, including accrued interest, derived from assets obtained through unusual means, are to be transferred to the state. This decision is in accordance with the provisions outlined in the Organic Act on Prevention and Suppression of Corruption, B.E. 2542, Section 4, alongside Section 83, and in alignment with the Organic Act on Prevention and Suppression of Corruption, B.E. 2018, Section 4, coupled with Section 125.

The court has mandated that the accused must provide various documents related to money and property totaling 44,630,426 baht, including documents pertaining to the inheritance of money or property. Additionally, the accused must effect the transfer of ownership or payment of 44,630,426 baht plus the accrued interest to the government through the Ministry of Finance. Failure to comply with this order will result in the court taking necessary measures instead of relying on the accused's declaration of intent.

In the event that the accused is unable to transfer the assets to the government, they are obligated to pay compensation of 44,630,426 baht or transfer alternative assets equivalent to the value of the missing assets to the government until the obligation is fulfilled. Again, if the transfer is not executed, the court will enforce its order instead of relying on the accused's declaration of intent. Any fees paid by the litigant cannot be refunded by the court under these circumstances.

*This press release translation is funded by the National Anti-Corruption Fund (NACF).

Source: https://www.nacc.go.th/categorydetail/2018083118464105/20240509132605?

Hashtag: #IntegrityWay #AntiCorruption #ZeroCorruption #NACC #NACF


The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), Thailand

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is a constitutional independent organization and supervised by nine commissioners selected from various professions. It is authorised to undertake work on the prevention and suppression of malfeasance, particularly in government agencies, on assets investigations, as well as on the monitoring of ethics and virtues of political position holders.

It has the authority to file charges in court as well as support and build up awareness of the penalties for committing corruption. The NACC is supervised by the NACC Board and has the Office of the NACC as its administrative agency.

Since 1997, Thai Courts have ruled against and punished politicians, former ministers, high-ranking government officials as well as executives of the private sector in the thousands of cases submitted by the NACC.

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