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Taxpayers Have A Right To Know About Tax Evaders: Thai Opinion


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EDITORIAL

Taxpayers have a right to know about tax evaders

The Nation

The public should be informed of the details of high-profile cases that have been the subject of different interpretations in different courts

Attorney General Julasing Wasantasing may not be upset by the impeachment threat by the Democrat Party. But he, or the Attorney General's Office, should explain to the public about the daring decision to drop the Bt500-million tax case involving Khunying Pojaman na Pombejra, her brother Bannapot Damapong and her private secretary Kanchanapha Honghern.

The prosecution spokesman, Thanapit Mulpruek, said that prosecutors decided to drop the case because it agreed with the appellate decision that it had no legal or factual arguments to take the case to the Supreme Court for a final review. But the Attorney General's Office should enlighten the public further on this high-profile case by providing more detailed information. After all, this decision by the prosecutors could set a precedent for similar tax evasion cases in the future.

This controversial case has drawn strong public attention. First of all, tax evasion is a serious offence. Notorious American gangster Al Capone was convicted and sentenced to prison because of tax evasion; it was the only way the US authorities could nail him in spite of the numerous syndicate crimes that he allegedly previously committed.

In addition, it is undeniable that this tax evasion case has political a context because it involves Pojaman na Pombejra, the ex-wife of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Third, the case has already drawn contrasting opinions from the Criminal Court and the Appeals Court. The Criminal Court had previously found Pojaman and two other defendants guilty, ruling that they were involved in a conspiracy to avoid paying Bt500 million in tax liabilities related to a share transaction in 2000. The defendants - Pojaman, her brother Bannapot and her secretary Kanachanapa - were sentenced to three years in jail each.

But the Appeals Court last month acquitted Pojaman and Kanchanapha, though it confirmed the guilty verdict on Bannapot. The High Court cited Bannapot's good standing in the community as a ground to suspend his jail term.

The Attorney General's Office later said it agreed with the Appeals' Court ruling and thus dismissed the case. The decision was announced by Attorney-General's Office spokesman Thanapit Moolapruek, who is also director of the Special Cases Department. He said prosecutors were not required to appeal against every acquittal ruling by the Appeals Court. He suggested that the office had found the reasons for acquittal provided by the Appeals Court in Pojaman's case reasonable enough. The explanation by the Attorney General's Office, however, will not satisfy all critics. The Democrat Party has said it is preparing to solicit the endorsement of 125 MPs in order to launch an impeachment motion against Julasing.

Kaewsan Atibodhi, a former member of the now-defunct Assets Examination Committee, which investigated alleged wrongdoings committed by the Shinawatra family, said that the Attorney General's Office had wrongly determined Pojaman's case. Kaewsan made the point that since the case has drawn contrasting opinions from the Criminal Court and the Appeals Court, the prosecutors have the duty to take the case to the ultimate jurisdiction. In other words, Kaewsan said, the Supreme Court should have the final say on this case that has divided two lower courts so badly.

Kaewsan, however, admitted that the Attorney General's decision might mean the door has been slammed shut on the possibility of taking the case to the Supreme Court. Yet he warned that the Attorney General's Office may have put itself in legal jeopardy.

While the office may not bother to answer to its critics, the public deserves to know more about the details and the reasons behind this crucial decision. The Attorney General's Office thus should not wait until the Democrat Party requires the office to provide more information and documentation. But it should better explain the reason to the public. Thanapit said the prosecution agreed with the appellate decision that it had no legal or factual arguments to take the case to the Supreme Court for a final review. The Thai people, however, deserve to know more than this one sentence.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-01

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Actually, it appears they don't have the right to know about tax evaders.

A radio show was permanently cancelled halfway through broadcast yesterday for having the audacity to discuss certain tax evaders.

Yay for red democracy and press freedom.

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Name and Shame, dam_n right, ... although it may take a while for a commission to be set-up, to investigate possible-measures for consideration to be included in future-legislation, to be drawn-up by a bi-partisan committee staying in a 5-star hotel, while studying how these things are done in other countries, members of said committee to be named in-the-fullness-of-time & so-on.

Meanwhile not much changes.

Poo-yais & elite don't have to pay tax, do they ? It's obviously all an anti-democratic political-attack by the long-gone junta ! <_<

At least this case got this far, and was reported-upon, a small amount of the cleansing-light of publicity made it through the storm-clouds ! :(

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You might think having been convicted of a half billion baht scam, but saved from a bill by the statute of limitations, the might be a little shame attached, even if your family connections got you off the charges.

Not a bit of it - shame for criminal acts is not part of the Shinawatra family code, or any of their associates either it would seem.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Actually, it appears they don't have the right to know about tax evaders.

A radio show was permanently cancelled halfway through broadcast yesterday for having the audacity to discuss certain tax evaders.

Yay for red democracy and press freedom.

It has begun.

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