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Forces will be mobilized to combat economic crime

Budget for smart cards approved

Public urged to save energy

Forces will be mobilized to combat economic crime

The Ministry of Justice recently conducted a brainstorming session aimed at thrashing out approaches to solve economic crime, warning that economic crime was costing the nation billions of baht each year.

Wisit Wisitsora-at, director of the ministry’s operations, addressed the seminar. Hinting of famous incidents of economic crime such as the Enron scandal in the US, Wisit warned, “These problems could happen to Thailand. Whatever agencies are involved, they must join hands to carry out audits, rather than leaving everything up to the Special Investigative Branch.”

Wisit, who said that economic crime was costing the nation dearly, observed that the collection of evidence relating to economic crime remained one of the major weaknesses in combating it. “This weakness stems not only from problems within the system itself, but also basic errors of understanding,” he said.

Nonetheless, he stressed that the Special Investment Branch, the courts, lawyers, and businessmen were working together to identify these weaknesses, while also working to isolate loopholes in existing legislation.

The session was attended by representatives from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Thai Association of Accountants and Licensed Auditors, the Chulalongkorn University’s Center for Business Crime Information, and the Special Investigation Branch. (TNA)


Budget for smart cards approved

Deputy Government Spokeswoman Sansanee Nakpong announced that the cabinet has approved a total budget of over 7.9 billion baht to support the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology’s multi- purpose identity cards, or smart cards, project. “The earmarked budget will be used to produce and manage the distribution of 64 million smart cards to all Thai citizens,” she stated.

The smart cards scheme will be divided into three parts; first, 12 million smart cards will be produced. Backed by another budget in the 2005 fiscal year, 26 million more will be available, and the rest of the 26 million smart cards will follow shortly after.

The computer chips embedded in the smart cards will not lead to accessibility of all individual information of cards’ holders, but the chips would only be a ‘key’ used to access to their information stored in a server. “So, if a card holder loses the card, he or she will not be at risk of being accessed to all reserved information,” Sansanee said. (TNA)


Public urged to save energy

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is calling on the Thai public to save energy over the coming hot season. The prime minister pledged, however, that the government would continue to cap the price of oil, while urging the Thai public to help keep energy consumption low by switching off lights and air conditioning units, and driving vehicles at speeds below 90 kilometers per hour.

The government has already spent over 4 billion baht on controlling oil prices, but is continuing to cap the price in order to prevent an inflationary spiral. (TNA)