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It's common for anti-graft bodies to face threats: TI

Transparency International (TI) supports the work of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) and the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and asks pro-government groups to stop intimidation over investigations by these independent bodies, NACC member Pakdee Pothisiri said yesterday.

NACC officials say they have been verbally intimidated by pro-government protesters. The agency's building was also targeted with M79 and other kinds of grenades a few times in March.

After discussion by TI members from 120 countries, they said that anti-corruption agencies all over the world were often threatened when investigating prominent politicians. To address this, they drew up a Bangkok Declaration, which insists that all anti-corruption commissions should have protection so they can operate independently from political influence.

The TI also condemned groups that interfere with the NACC and criticised the government for not protecting the commission.

This was the first time that Transparency International had made a statement about the NACC in Thailand, Pakdee said. But he did not expect the group to intervene further unless the situation becomes more severe.

"This type of case has happened before, with the Anti-Corruption Commission in Indonesia that investigated a politician in the ruling party. The problem is similar to what is happening with the Thai NACC and it also happens in many other countries," Pakdee said.

"This is unacceptable behaviour and it shows that all politicians are alike, since they value themselves more than their country. It also shows that politicians are unlikely to help fight corruption."


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