PRIME Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that he would not interfere in the work of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) even though he could exercise his absolute power as allowed by the law.
Prayut said he had talked to the NACC chairman, who promised that the agency would work to the best of its ability to fight corruption. The issue the NACC chairman was concerned about was political interference or power overlapping.
Prayut said there would be no political interference under his administration in the work of the NACC and the government would let the agency and other independent agencies fully enforce the law.
He was speaking at Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day when he presided over the opening ceremony.
He said he would like to see more integration and cooperation among seven checks agencies: the Election Commission; the Office of the Auditor-General of Thailand; the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission; the NACC; the Royal Thai Police; the Department of Special Investigation; and the Office of the Attorney-General.
“Another issue is how to speed up the justice procedure so that it is not too lengthy and not too swift. Whenever we want any case to be wrapped up quickly, there is always a problem,” he commented.
According to Transparency International’s Thailand chapter, the country’s corruption perception index improved in 2014, with ranking moving up from 102nd place last year to 85th place, with the score rising to 38 from 35. But the country remains among two-thirds of 175 countries with a score below 50, on a scale from zero (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Prayut said the NACC expected that with greater cooperation among different sectors to combat corruption and create anti-graft awareness plus efforts to project a clean image of the country, the country’s score might spike from 38 to 50 this year.
He said he had given work guidelines to state agencies to ensure transparency, especially officials who provide state service.
“We have an application to help ensure public convenience and they are able to access public information from every ministry as guaranteed by the Disclosure of Official Information Act,’’ he said.
Reforming the bureaucracy to strengthen the state sector and increase efficiency will help reduce corruption and offences committed by state officials, Prayut said.
“The government will put in place new enrolment measures that recruit the right person for the right job in each ministry. We will have civil servants who are truly professionals,” he said. Prayut said his government had made the private sector sign good-governance contracts in order to allow corruption checks in mega-projects.
He also urged Thais not to resort to nepotism or kow-tow to wealthy people if they are corrupt or avoid tax.