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Local bodies awash with graft, PACC says

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Local bodies awash with graft, PACC says | Thaiger


– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Local bodies awash with graft, PACC says
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Many of the 8,000 local administrative bodies nationwide are hotbeds of graft and corruption, the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission said yesterday.

Prayong Preeyajit, chief of the PACC, said there was little oversight for local elected bodies and demands for bribes of 100,000 baht or a staff position was not unheard of.

Corruption in the public sector is incorrigible, he told a panel during the 13th National Symposium of Justice Administration at the Queen Sirikit Convention Center in Bangkok.

“The mechanisms for dealing with the problem can’t cope. Corruption floods in like water from a broken dam. It only stopped in May when the [National] Council for Peace and Order took over. But we can’t be too sure even today,” he said, referring to the military seizure of power.

The PACC only had 247 staff and they could not keep up with the caseload, he added.

Today, businesspeople have to pay up to 30-40 per cent in kickbacks to win a concession from some local governments, Mr Prayong said. “In several areas, elections became a tool [for them] to come in to seek gains.”

Citing the example of a local community futsal stadium that cost 180 million baht instead of 50mn baht,Mr Prayong called for a facilitation center to be set up to assist various anti-corruption organizations.

Chairat Khanitbut, deputy secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, said various sectors must work in tandem. Mr Chairat said the NACC would from now on form a big team for big cases to speed up the time it takes to process them.

Pramon Sutheewong, chairman of the private-sector Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand, said he would consider it a success if the government could punish at least a few of the big guys within a year. “If you can’t deal with big fish then they won’t be afraid, because they might die before ever being prosecuted,” he said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


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