Special Report:The case of Thaksin Shinawatra: A study in policy corruption

The 7-hour ruling of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Section for Political Position Holders on 26 February 2010 on the seizure of assets belonging to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his associates meant different things to different people The 65-page document made legal history for Thailand and set the standards for the inspection of the exercise of state power as enshrined in the Constitution 2007. The allegations and the judgments also made a case study for policy corruption, a new and complex form of graft.

In the petition submitted by the Attorney-General to the Supreme Court on 25 August 2008, seeking a court order for the seizure of 76,621,603,061.05 THB inclusive of interests as state assets, the reasons stated that the amount was unusual wealth obtained through conflicts of interest by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to benefit Shin Corp and companies in its group in 5 major cases, namely:

1. The conversion of concession payment into excise tax, with the issuance of an executive decree in 2003 to amend the Excise Tax Code 1984, defining excise tax to be appropriated from telecommunication businesses at 20 – 50% , while allowing existing telecom companies to deduct their concession fees from the excise tax they need to pay. The move effectively barred new operators from entering Thai telecom market. The court decided by a majority vote that the former prime minister committed the malfeasance as alleged, causing the loss of over 60 billion THB to the state.

2. The 6th amendment to the Cellular Mobile Telephone Service Agreement in 2002, reducing AIS’ income sharing rate with TOT Public Company Limited for the prepaid cards to be at 20% throughout the concession period, instead of paying the progressive rate at 25% from 1 October 2000 to 30 September 2005, and 30% from 1 October 2005 onwards. The court decided by a majority vote that the move benefited AIS. Continue reading “Special Report:The case of Thaksin Shinawatra: A study in policy corruption”

KIO to thrash out BGF issue at central committee meet

Saturday, 27 February 2010 KNG
A decision on the thorny Border Guard Force issue will be taken by Burma’s ethnic Kachin armed group at a central committee meeting, in early March said the group’s sources.

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) will hold its central committee meeting in Laiza Headquarters in Kachin State near the China border in early March. The meeting will thrash out and decide whether the KIO will accept the BGF, said officials from the headquarters.

The KIO central committee has 30 members.

Tomorrow is the deadline set by the military junta for the last remaining Kachin armed group to come out clearly whether it will accept the Burmese Army-controlled BGF or reject it, according to KIO officials.

KIA held largest ceremony on 49th anniversary of Kachin Revolution Day on Feb. 5 in N’gumla, the 1st Brigade command in northern Kachin State, northern Burma.

The impasse over the BGF is yet to be resolved between the junta and KIO, though both sides met on transforming the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the military-wing of KIO at least 10 times since April last year.

The KIO has rejected the junta’s BGF proposal because it cannot disband the KIA as long as the political imbroglio continues between it and the junta.

On the Kachin’s armed struggle day on February 5, the KIO Chairman Lanyaw Zawng Hra’s anniversary speech recalled that the Panglong Agreement, the fundamental charter for establishing a union between Burman majority and ethnic minorities’ leaders should be revived for building a genuine union of Burma. Continue reading “KIO to thrash out BGF issue at central committee meet”

Ban disappointed by denial of Aung San Suu Kyi’s release

New York, 26 February 2010 – Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Myanmar
The Secretary-General is disappointed to learn that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal against her continued house arrest was again rejected today. The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the release of all political prisoners and their free participation in the political process. These are essential steps for national reconciliation and democratic transition in Myanmar.

New York, 26 February 2010