ACD commander dedicated to revitalising corruption battle

PHOTO: ACD Commander Jaroonkiat has vowed to turn the beleaguered department around. (via Bangkok Post)

The Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) in Thailand says they currently changing to transform it into a high-calibre unit that can combat corruption effectively. A team of ACD officers recently arrested Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya, the director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. The scandal made headlines and the ACD became the centre of attention, causing its commander to announce a renewed vigour for the department’s purpose.

The National Parks Department director-general was arrested on suspicion of demanding or soliciting bribes from subordinates and malfeasance. An envelope with 98,000 baht was found during the arrest at the department chief’s office, while another 4.9 million baht were stuffed into envelopes with the names of subordinates on them.

Referred to as “the graveyard” in the past, the ACD was less an effective office and more of a punishment. Officers who committed offences were transferred to the department to atone. The previous deputy secretary of the ACD was himself busted for corruption.

Commander Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat Pankaew has a background in crime-busting and has led operations to stifle criminals and drug traffickers. Bangkok Post reports that he has also been supported by Pol Lt Gen Jiraphob Bhuridej, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, who provided detectives from his department aid the ACD.

Now the Anti-Corruption Division is working closely with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and other agencies to tackle corruption in Thailand. Its commander is determined to turn the ACD into a respectable police unit which people can rely on. He described the indifference of those assigned Anti-Corruption duty previously and his intention to change that.

“Few were willing to work here. Some officers worked here because they wanted to add to their job credentials and then sought transfers to other units. Some saw the ACD as a stopover where they stayed temporarily before moving on to other careers such as lawyers or judges.

“At the time, the ACD was also understaffed and poorly funded. As such, the level of efficiency was low. When I stepped in, I made a lot of changes to ensure the ACD had a more active role. I don’t want it to be a paper tiger, so steps are being taken to reinvigorate and empower the agency. The ACD has now been given new lease of life and energy as it handles several cases.”

Crime NewsThailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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