At PPT we have long observed that the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is a tool of the ruling junta.
Now it seems the Bangkok Post has also seen this politicization of a supposed “independent agency.”
Noting that several of its cases “have now reached the judicial stage” and that it is “actively digging into more high-profile cases,” the Post editorial states that most of these cases:
are highly political in nature, and have little to do with corruption, unusual wealth or abuses of power for personal gain committed by government officials or politicians — the core mandates of the anti-graft agency.
It adds that “since the 2014 military coup, the NACC’s actions — and indeed its inaction — suggest it has not remained politically impartial, the core quality of an independent agency.”
This, it says, means the “agency’s increasingly political role is a questionable mandate that will do more harm than good.”
We’d suggest that it has already done great damage to itself and the country, at the behest of the military dictatorship.
Referring to the NACC’s 11 more cases against Yingluck Shinawatra, the Post says that
[a]s long as the NACC does not explicitly demonstrate how these cases involve outright corruption and abuses of power for personal gain, and were driven by ill motives, such political cases will continue to cast doubt about the agency’s effectiveness and impartiality.
The Post then turns to double standards:
Several corruption and abuse of power complaints filed against politicians from the Democrat [Party] camp have proceeded at a snail’s pace.
To the disappointment of many, the NACC’s probe into the alleged wrongdoing by members of the military regime since the coup had also raised suspicions. The graft agency has dismissed many of them without providing a sufficient explanation.
Its transparency has also been questioned. For instance, it repeatedly, for eight months, refused a request by a media outlet for information about its probe into an asset concealment allegation against Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha in 2015. The NACC subsequently agreed to disclose it at a later stage.
Then there are the cases that seem eerily silent:
… it has not made much progress on others concerning alleged corruption. These include its probe into the Rolls-Royce bribery scandal allegedly involving two state enterprises, which is still at a “preliminary stage” more than six months after a revelation by the UK Serious Fraud Office.
The Post reckons all this politicized action and inaction means that “the anti-graft agency will further risk undermining its credibility, which is already waning…”.
For us, that credibility was gone years ago.