National Commission to Counter Corruption to file criminal and civil lawsuits against those who oppose its decision to raise the wages of its commissioners

What things cost - Bangkok Post, October 1, 2004
From 'Watchdog to take criminal action against pay-rise critics': The chairman of the National Commission to Counter Corruption (NCCC) says he will file criminal and civil lawsuits against people who oppose its decision to raise the wages of its commissioners...
"We have faced insults and hatred from the general public. We need to take both criminal and civil action to address the damage,'' he said...
The commission's regulation on July 29 increases the monthly allowance of the NCCC chairman by 45,500 baht, to 154,000 baht. The monthly allowance of other commissioners increases by 42,500 baht, to 147,000 baht. An MP's salary stands at 76,000 baht...


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Watchdog to take criminal action against pay-rise critics

PRADIT RUANGDIT

The chairman of the National Commission to Counter Corruption (NCCC) says he will file criminal and civil lawsuits against people who oppose its decision to raise the wages of its commissoners.

Pol Gen Wuthichai Srirattanawuthi said the NCCC would have to take legal action after remarks by opponents caused the public to hate the agency.

``We have faced insults and hatred from the general public. We need to take both criminal and civil action to address the damage,'' he said.

Pol Gen Wuthichai declined to name targets. The NCCC opted for legal action instead of explaining the issue right away because opponents claimed their stance was in line with the law.

``As we have the duty to explain in line with the law, we choose to explain to the courts,'' the NCCC chairman said.

He declined to say why the NCCC issued a regulation to increase the pay of commissioners and whether the practice would set an example for executives of other independent organisations.

Pol Gen Wuthichai said the action was legal and the regulation was announced in the Royal Gazette.

Bangkok senator Pol Gen Pratin Santiprabhob, chairman of the Senate committee on anti-graft investigation, is a key critic of the pay rise. He says the NCCC had no right to raise its own wages.

The commission's regulation on July 29 increases the monthly allowance of the NCCC chairman by 45,500 baht, to 154,000 baht. The monthly allowance of other commissioners increases by 42,500 baht, to 147,000 baht. An MP's salary stands at 76,000 baht.

``I think the commission went beyond its authority. It should propose an amendment to parliament so parliament can ask why it needs to raise salaries,'' Pol Gen Pratin said.

The NCCC was authorised to issue regulations to govern its own administration, staff and the management of its budgets and assets.

Any change to the wages of its commissioners required an amendment to the law that governs financial returns in the government sector, and such a change should go before parliament.

Pol Gen Pratin insisted he did not intend to tarnish the NCCC but the Senate had the duty to keep an eye on the commission.

He is gathering the signatures of MPs and senators to ask the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to punish the NCCC chairman and commissioners for malfeasance. He has gathered nearly 90 senators' signatures, and 109 Democrat MPs are about to sign their names.
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