NACC panel looks to make listing assets more transparent
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has formed a panel to improve its asset declaration form to improve transparency, the commission's secretary-general Worawit Sukboon says.
The form needs to be revised to address several concerns raised by people required to submit their assets and liabilities, as well as complaints by critics in the wake of a luxury watch controversy, he said.
The watch controversy involved Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who was cleared of wrongdoing by the NACC.
The NACC ruled there were no grounds to accusations that he gave a false wealth declaration by not including 22 luxury watches and rings on his list of assets and debts submitted to the anti-graft agency when he assumed his cabinet post in 2014.
Gen Prawit claimed the watches belonged to a late close friend, Patthawat Suksriwong, and were not part of assets he was required to declare. The NACC, which voted 5:3 to clear Gen Prawit, was criticised for being too ready to accept the deputy prime minister's claim.
The commission found there was not enough evidence to prove deputy premier deliberately concealed his wealth.
Mr Worawit said borrowed assets and "other assets" are areas the panel will have to address to make the declaration form comprehensive and transparent.
"Some senators want to know if 'other assets' should be listed separately or in general, and whether assets should be declared if they were borrowed before taking office," he said.
However, the NACC secretary-general also said the commission will have to audit asset declarations thoroughly and verify borrowed assets to make sure they are not exploited to conceal wealth.
He said asset declaration is a tool to promote public sector transparency and the information allows the NACC to investigate if holders of political and public offices abuse their authority for personal gain.
He added that the anti-graft agency seems to focus on the accuracy of declarations and should do more in terms of monitoring and tracking wealth while individuals are in office.