Policy-level corruption rife, anti-graft body says

Policy-level corruption rife, anti-graft body says

People join a  ‘Zero Tolerance’ rally to mark the National Anti-Corruption Day on Sept 6. The rally was organised by the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
People join a ‘Zero Tolerance’ rally to mark the National Anti-Corruption Day on Sept 6. The rally was organised by the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Policy-level corruption remains rife in Thailand despite progress being made to address the issue, according to the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT).

ACT secretary-general Mana Nitmitmongkol posted on Facebook on Tuesday that policy-level corruption committed by politicians and corruption in state megaprojects remains high.

Corruption in the bureaucratic system has been slightly reduced due to the rejection of graft by many among the new generation of civil servants, tougher rules and regulations, more resistance from the public and technological advancements, Mr Mana noted.

"It's only been reduced very slightly and slowly because of a lack of attention on the part of agency leaders at different levels as well as certain corporate cultures such as the patronage system and authoritarianism," he said.

Mr Mana said evidence revealed large amounts of money were being illegally transferred in and out of Thailand each year -- an estimated 400 billion baht leaving the country and 200 billion baht entering.

"Moreover, legal action against people involved in corruption proceed very slowly. In several cases, public prosecutors decided to drop cases while some were found guilty by the courts but were given suspended sentences," he said. "Some have had their jail terms reduced, not to mention the problem of offenders being protected by those in power."

This year, the Anti-Money Laundering Office concluded that cases involving abuse of power by state officials are likely to be linked to other offences, including money laundering, drug trafficking and illegal gambling, with state officials complicit, Mr Mana wrote.

But studies show that several new-generation politicians elected to local organisations tend to work in line with the principles of good governance and attach importance to public participation, he added.

He also wrote that the government established agencies to pursue information and technological development and innovations, such as the Government Big Data Institute, the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre, the National Innovation Agency, and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency.

The website govspending.data.go.th provides information on government spending and an e-government procurement system, he said, adding this can support economic development and justice.

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