The National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) has joined hands with Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Economics in establishing the Knowledge Hub for Regional Anti-Corruption and Good Governance Collaboration (KRAC) for the goal of creating Thailand’s anti-corruption ecosystem by translating academic knowledge into actions and fostering networks for international cooperation.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus Yomnak, director of the Knowledge Hub for Regional Anti-Corruption and Good Governance Collaboration (KRAC), Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Economics, revealed that the MOU on KRAC establishment was inked by the NRCT and Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Economics on April 24 this year. In pursuit of its goal to create Thailand’s anti-corruption ecosystem, the KRAC will carry out projects and activities that are designed to promote the implementations of relevant academic knowledge and develop networks on international cooperation.
The expected anti-corruption ecosystem will cover not just the public sector but also the private sector, civil society, and people. The KRAC is now sparking hopes across Thai society and is producing personnel that will drive anti-corruption efforts and foster good governance in Thailand.
KRAC projects, which are scheduled for implementation in 2023 include: Program in Online Anti-Corruption and Good Governance Collaboration; Anti-Corruption Workshop for Civil Servants; Database of Anti-Corruption Knowledge, and; activities to foster international anti-corruption collaborations. On June 16, 2023, KRAC will hold the 1st International Academic Conference on Anti-Corruption Knowledge, Academic Work, and Innovation Sharing, so as to pave the way for long-term cooperation.
KRAC mechanisms have functioned via the four following features: 1) ‘Knowledge’ Hub that drives anti-corruption; 2) ‘Network’ Hub that upgrades the tangible development and expansion of anti-corruption collaborations to international level; 3) ‘Join’ Hub that develops supportive systems for local practitioners’ better knowledge; and 4) ‘Learn’ Hub that raises anti-corruption potential through academic services and the propagation of knowledge among members of the public.
These mechanisms are connected to anti-corruption networks that operate at three levels in ASEAN region, namely: 1) Knowledge & Action Network; 2) Network of Anti-Corruption Experts and Ordinary People, and 3) International Networks that operate at national or regional levels.
The KRAC director said corruption is a highly complicated problem. In foreign countries, studies on corruption therefore have covered a wide scope of topics. Far from focusing on just investigations and punishments, such studies have also looked into corruption behaviours, motivations and numerous anti-graft tools. Efficient solutions to corruption require academic knowledge, which can support anti-corruption efforts across public, private, civil-society and people’s sectors.
Anti-corruption efforts must include learning, the development of guidelines, the promotion of collaborations, and the exchanges of experience among various countries, because such elements will enable effective investigations and corruption suppression. Nowadays, ill-gotten gains from corrupt practices in a country can be transferred to various other countries. Therefore, states should work together in combatting corruption.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus continued that to achieve sustainable anti-corruption, it is necessary to place an emphasis on corruption prevention especially by means of releasing open data. The public sector’s data disclosure promises to herald the beginning of corruption prevention. Audit organisations, meanwhile, should adjust their work style to enhance their promotion of corruption prevention.
Apart from his role at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Economics, Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus co-founded Hand Social Enterprise alongside academic fellows. This group was established to turn research findings into anti-corruption actions through its collaborations with the National Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC), Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT), Khonthai Foundation, Private Sector Collective Action against Corruption (CACCAC), and Thai CG Fund.
Hand Social Enterprise’s achievements include: the development of Open Data System, an anti-corruption tool or ACT AI that has compiled government agencies’ procurement data in the past five years for public scrutiny; the identification of corruption indicators, and; the integration of whistleblowing function into the OPDC for further action. Moreover, Hand Social Enterprise has helped Thai CG Fund screen budget requests for anti-graft organisations.