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OAG bill faces rough ride in legislator

Oct 16. 2017
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By The Nation

The organic bill governing the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) is scheduled for final reading before the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Thursday for a final reading amid a controversy regarding the OAG’s proposed new authority to probe officials of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

The Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC), which wrote the bill, has argued that because anti-graft officials probe others, they also should be subject to scrutiny. The NACC has rejected that argument. The NACC is subject to the scrutiny of the general checks and balances of the parliamentary system.

NLA’s president Pornpetch Vichitcholchai said on Monday that agencies objecting to the OAG organic bill might propose creating a joint committee to review the draft. Joint committees have been used to iron out disagreements related to some of the other organic bills that accompany the nation’s new constitution and must be passed prior to an election being called.

Referring the law to a joint committee could drag out the date of the election, which is expected in autumn of 2018.

Pornpetch said the risk of that would be preferable to the law potentially being ruled unconstitutional. That eventuality would cause more damage than taking time to get agreement on the issue now, he said.

The MP bill that is coming to the NLA for debate could also hold up an election if rejected, added the legislator.

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