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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who is the real 'Revenue Department'? : Anand

Who is the real 'Revenue Department'? : Anand

Anand Panyarachun, chairman of the board of Siam Commercial Bank
(SCB), said the bank was ready to transfer Bt12 billion of the
Shinawatra children's money to the authorities if ordered to do so, but
meanwhile he is wondering who the actual Revenue Department is.

Who is the real 'Revenue Department'? : Anand

"We're ready to follow instructions from the authorities, but two
orders currently contradict each other. We need the authorities to tell
us exactly what to do," he said.

The Assets Examination
Committee (AEC) has ordered a freeze on Bt76 billion belonging to the
Shinawatra family, pending charges against ousted prime minister
Thaksin Shinawatra for alleged unusual wealth and abuse of power. In a
letter dated last Friday and signed by Revenue Department deputy
directorgeneral Asadang Srisupraphand, the department said it would
like the bank to transfer Bt12 billion to it in case it wins the tax
case against Panthongtae and Pinthongta.

Sanit Rangnoi was not in Thailand on the day the letter was sent to
SCB. He is believed to oppose asking for SCB to unlock the Shinawatras'

Some local newspapers have speculated that if
Panthongtae and Pinthongta receive a favourable ruling from the Tax
Appeal Committee, they can get their money back from the Revenue
Department if SCB releases it.

"If you have any problem,
you can ask [directorgeneral Sanit], because right now I also don't
know who the real Revenue Department is. You must ask the
directorgeneral of the Revenue Department, not me," Anand told

Meanwhile, to play it safe SCB will continue to
freeze Panthongtae and Pinthongta's deposits. The board met yesterday
to consider the legalities of the case and will meet again on Thursday.
It has also asked for legal opinions from the National Counter
Corruption Commission, the Administrative Court and the Office of the

Revenue Department spokesman Satit
Rangkasiri was assigned by Sanit to come out and speak. Satit said by
asking SCB to release Panthongtae and Pinthongta's frozen assets, it
was following tax law.

"If we don't proceed as tax law requires us to, we could be held responsible for failing to do our duty," said Satit.

department wants to treat each taxpayer equally, as per its usual
practice. If the department did not seek release of the frozen assets,
a tax penalty of 1.5 per cent a month would accrue to the two
taxpayers, he said.

He said the department would wait for an answer from SCB before deciding on its next move.

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