Transparency: Stop intimidating NACC

Transparency International (TI) has called on supporters of the Yingluck Shinawatra government to stop intimidating the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) which is investigating alleged dereliction of duty by the caretaker premier in allowing corruption to take place in the controversial rice-pledging scheme.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Germany-based non-profit global anti-graft group that monitors corporate and government corruption said “the NACC is coming under increasing pressure in a tense political situation because it has named Ms Yingluck in an investigation into corruption in the rice market”.

The statement was released only a day before the NACC announced it would make a decision on Ms Yingluck’s case on May 8 or May 15.

“The NACC has had to protect its staff from grenade attacks and issue a statement explaining it is acting as a neutral entity. Government supporters are claiming it is biased and have barricaded its offices,” the statement said.

The NACC headquarters in Nonthaburi was attacked by M79-type grenades on March 24 and 27. The compound’s entry was also blocked for several days by members of the People’s Radio for Democracy Group (PRDG), a faction of the red-shirt pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), in protest at the anti-graft panel’s decision to charge Ms Yingluck in relation to the rice-pledging scheme.

IT said the NACC and the government hosted the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Bangkok in 2010, which was attended by more than 1,500 anti-corruption practitioners wordwide. During that conference, the president of the NACC spoke openly about the challenges in investigating public figures.

“The Bangkok Declaration concluded that the work of anti-corruption agencies needs to remain a national priority, and noted that for anti-corruption agencies to be independent, they must be preserved either in a constitution or an appropriate statute,” the statement said. 

The group pledged to support the work of the NACC through its global anti-graft campaign network.

Updated on May 6, 2014.

Srirak Plipat, TI's regional director of Asia Pacific Department, said later in a letter to Bangkok Post that the role of Transparency International is not to support either the opposition or the government in a particular issue. The agency calls for any intimidation of the National Anti-corruption Commission, from no matter what party, to stop.

Transparency International's statement points out that anti-corruption agencies are effective in the fight against corruption when they are independent and well-resourced. They should be able to investigate whatever corruption case they decide should be investigated, irrespective of who is involved, free from intimidation. This holds true for Thailand and would be the same whatever party was in power and whoever was in opposition. 

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