Former anti-graft commissioner voices protest against increasing the value of gifts

A former anti-corruption commissioner warned that increasing the value of gifts to be given to or received by government officials from 3,000-baht limit may pave the way for corruption.

Mr Vicha Mahakhun

The former member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission Mr Vicha Mahakhun issued the above warning in response to a recently floated idea that an NACC announcement should be amended to adjust the 3,000-baht cap for the value of a gift because the amount is not relevant with reality.

He said that any attempt to amend the rule should take into consideration the reality of the Thai society where nepotism and patronage system are rampant in the government bureaucracy.

He cited the cases in Vietnam and in Germany where the value of a gift to be given to an official or to be received by an official worth a maximum of 1,000 baht and just a flower respectively.

“Some bosses have the penchant for something extraordinary or pricey and their subordinates struggle to find the gifts to meet their bosses’ satisfaction to the extent that they have to demand payoffs from the other people. They don’t give them all to their bosses and keep some for themselves,” said Mr Vicha.

According to the NACC announcement regarding the value of gifts, the limit is set at 3,000 baht per gift and violation will face a jailterm not exceeding three years and/or a fine of not more than 60,000 baht.

Thai Constitution Protection secretary-general Srisuwan Janya, meanwhile, vowed to oppose any attempt to amend the NACC announcement to adjust the 3,000- baht limit in value of a gift.