Raft of graft laws 'in need of reform'

Raft of graft laws 'in need of reform'

New goal to harness power of citizens

Some laws are outdated and need revisions to boost efforts to tackle graft, according to a national reform committee on anti-corruption.

Pakdee Pothisiri, the committee's chairman, yesterday reported on the implementation of the national reform plan on anti-corruption over the past year.

It ranks among 11 reform committees formed in compliance with the law on national reform and national strategies, as stipulated by the constitution.

Each is responsible for one of 11 aspects of reform: politics, public administration, law, justice, economy, natural resources and the environment, public health, mass communication and information technology, social reform, energy, and anti-corruption.

Mr Pakdee, a former member of the National Anti-Corruption Committee (NACC), said the plan came into effect in February 2018 and has been revised to achieve the best results, with the latest revision effective from February last year.

The current version of the plan has focused on clearing obstacles to anti-corruption efforts and promoting public participation by harnessing civil power, as well as improving access to information and protecting people who come forward with information on graft.

The plan also seeks to improve the justice system to ensure the speedy and transparent administration of justice; to free the civil service system of vested interests, bribery and graft; and boost measures against policy corruption in state megaprojects, such as the signing of integrity pacts, Mr Pakdee said.

He stressed the need to make use of "citizens' power" by involving the public in proactive anti-corruption efforts instead of state agencies initiating activities or projects to invite them to take part.

Mr Pakdee said efforts are being made to revise some laws that are outdated, particularly those that deal with public access to state information, such as the 1997 Official Information Act.

Others relate to conflicts of interest and preventing lawsuits intended to silence witnesses in corruption cases, Mr Pakdee said.

He said the committee will ask the national strategy committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to support its reform plans, particularly the one on harnessing citizens' power.

"The best way to tackle corruption is to get people involved and make them realise the extent of the problem," he said.



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