The Bangkok Post has yet another editorial criticizing the National Anti-Corruption Commission. It begins:
[The NACC] has reached a crucial fork in the road. Soon, it will have to provide the public with the facts it has uncovered in the probe of the undocumented luxury watches worn by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon. Alternatively, it will continue to stonewall. This choice will inform the public that the NACC is a weak organisation, completely unwilling to speak truth to power and lacking the fortitude even to bring about the promise that brought Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to the premiership.
In fact, the “fork in the road” was passed long ago. It passed that point from the moment it was appointed by the junta. It sped further down the puppet road when NACC president Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit was made NACC puppet president and, after public pressure “recused” himself from the actual “investigation,” but continued in his job when “investigations” of Prawit “continued.” Watcharapol “has personal ties with Gen Prawit, and with Gen Prawit’s brother, former national police chief Pol Gen Patcharawat, who also has faced NACC graft allegations without result.”
The “recusal” was fake: Watcharapol “has stayed directly informed, as evidenced by his press conference on July 20 that gave information about the investigation.”
The NACC is a fake anti-corruption agency. It works as the junta demands. It ignores cases the junta wants ignored. As the Post points out, The Dictator’s anti-corruption drive is compromised:
One of the first high-ranking people to be accused of corruption was a four-star army general. But Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha [Prayuth’s brother] was never prosecuted. Former army chief and former deputy defence minister, Gen Udomdej Sitabutr [a Prayuth supporter], was responsible for the construction of the extremely controversial Rajabhakti Park but there were no consequences.
The Post recognizes that the NACC is a puppet institution, observing:
Pol Gen Watcharapol’s NACC decided not to pursue blatant, obvious and even admitted nepotism by many members of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly.
On Prawit’s case,
What it [the NACC] has been able to do to this point, more than eight months later, is to stonewall the corruption accusation. The public and opinion writers believe that the anti-graft agency is trying to make the country forget that the first deputy prime minister and closest associate of Prime Minister Prayut faces hard questions of how he got access to more than 40 million baht worth of watches.
In the end, the Post admits that the “fork in the road” is long passed, declaring that the NACC looks remarkably like “an agency far more interested in protecting bad actors of the regime than in doing its assigned job.”
That’s true. The sad thing for Thailand is that it is but one of the puppet institutions. Even regular bureaucratic agencies have suffered purges under the junta and been infiltrated by junta cronies.
Usually, the public learns little of the corruption of military regimes until they are gone. In the case of this junta, we may never know because it isn’t planning to go away for many, many years.