PM affirms commitment to graft war

PM affirms commitment to graft war

Ending corruption on national agenda

Watcharapol: Graft in decline
Watcharapol: Graft in decline

The government has declared the fight against corruption as a national agenda item with plans to improve anti-graft regulations as the rate of transparency in Thailand improves, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says.

Speaking at a video conference to mark International Anti-Corruption Day on Wednesday, Gen Prayut highlighted the government's efforts to fight corruption and nepotism while pledging to expedite the prosecution of graft cases to ensure people's trust in the government.

On behalf of the government, Gen Prayut said he would like to thank all sectors for their cooperation to protect the national interest, and all organisations for their efforts and sacrifices in tackling the problem.

He urged Thais to put the good of society above their own personal interests and help eradicate corruption for good.

National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) president Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit delivered a special lecture at the commission's head office in Nonthaburi to mark International Anti-Corruption Day.

He said the NACC's focus was on transparency which was one of the key indicators of the country's anti-corruption progress.

The NACC was preparing to develop an anti-corruption "toolbox" for knowledge exchange and cooperation between all sectors.

Pol Gen Watcharapol said the transparency level in Thailand improved last year with more than 1.3 million people from the public and civil sector participating in the Integrity and Transparency Assessment (ITA) in 2020, higher than 2019 by 200,000 people.

An average ITA score of 8,303 government units for the 2020 fiscal year was 67.90, slightly higher than, 66.73 in the previous year. Central government units passed the target score of 85 but provincial and local administrations that were rated 72.5 fell below the target, he said.

"The civil sector and whistle blowers played a more important role in fighting against corruption by alerting authorities to graft cases," Pol Gen Watcharapol said.

He gave an example of the recent uncovering of corruption in the "We Travel Together" project in one province, saying it was a case of proactive corruption prevention efforts by the civil sector.

This year, the NACC received 6,893 corruption complaints, lower than in 2019 by more than 1,900, Pol Gen Watcharapol said.

He said the transparency of government agencies and public participation were key factors in preventing corruption.

When asked by the press if the NACC could process a complaint against the PM in the military housing case, Pol Gen Watcharapol said the NACC was duty bound to accept the case first but if the complaint touched on issues the court had already decided on, the NACC was obligated by law to reject the case.

The Constitutional Court on Dec 2 ruled 9-0 to clear the premier of any wrongdoing for staying in army housing while serving as prime minister.

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