Former NACC calls on people to perform their duty as “Watchdogs” to help fight against ‘swindlers’


The former director of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) supports Thai people in acting as "Watchdogs" helping monitor corruption practices and fight against dishonest people.

Meanwhile, she also unveiled that the Constitution and NACC laws are modern and more stringent with severe penalties. However, she warns people to keep an eye on some politicians who are aiming to amend laws to lessen the NACC’s power in combating corruption.

In an exclusive interview with the Integrity Team of the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), Ms. Supa Piyajitti, former director of the NACC, says that preventing and combating corruption is everyone's duty. This is due to the country’s budget is the property of the country. It is not the responsibility of the NACC alone. Everyone must help each other in combating misconduct by acting like a “Watchdog”. At the same time, it depends on the conscience of government officials, civil servants, and politicians to help protect our tariff for the country’s benefit since only law enforcement cannot 100% prevent corruption.

“I always teach the younger generation of civil servants that no one can go to jail for you. Especially if it is an instruction from a senior executive or a minister. If you see that it is incorrect, you should make a record or a memo confirming your truthful opinion or make a dissenting opinion in writing as evidence to protect yourself in the future. Since politicians come and go, but civil servants have many examples that they must pay for crimes that have caused damage to the country,” the former NACC committee member states.

Former NACC calls on people to perform their duty as “Watchdogs” to help fight against ‘swindlers’

Nonetheless, the former NACC foresees that the Constitutional Act on Prevention and Suppression of Corruption B.E. 2018 is modern and in line with the 2017 Constitution in suppressing corruption while having harsh punishments. By giving an example of a past case when the defendant fled away, the statute of limitations will continue. But with the current act, the statute of limitations will be suspended until the offender can be brought back to justice, or the NACC has the authority to directly sue those offenders in court.

Moreover, the current bill gives an authority to examine the assets of politicians in which the definition of "spouse" has been extended to cover those who live together as a couple without marriage certification.

“There was once a case in which the NACC investigated a corruption case but was unable to determine the basis of the crime. Because there is no evidence of financial linkage even though we have information that this politician is openly living with a woman. Their assets have increased to more than 300 million baht, but these two people have no marriage certification, so there is a gap in the law that cannot be prosecuted. But today's law can cover all of this,” she elaborates.

Former NACC calls on people to perform their duty as “Watchdogs” to help fight against ‘swindlers’

Asked about criticisms of the delayed work of the NACC, the former NACC director admits that delays do exist. One reason is that the NACC's investigation process uses an investigative system that requires clear evidence to be taken in order to take action. This causes it to take a considerable amount of time, especially in cases where there are many accused persons. However, Section 48 of the NACC Act clearly stipulates that the NACC shall complete its investigation and decision within two years, and can request an extension for an additional year, which must be approved by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)’s commissioners whether there is any reason, necessity or obstacle. The difficulty of the case shall also be considered or if it is a case related to a foreign country, it may not be able to complete within two years but need a longer period.

Ms. Supa further explains that the new law stipulates time conditions, as well as the chairman of the NACC, has a policy for the officials who own the case files to expedite the process to be completed within two years. All case file information will be stored in the computer system so that they can know the progress of each case and no more hoarding. 

Former NACC calls on people to perform their duty as “Watchdogs” to help fight against ‘swindlers’

“There was a case that the NACC passed a resolution indicating the basis for criminal proceedings. But the responsible official put the case behind until the case expired. When the NACC discovered it, they expelled this official from government service and filed criminal charges against the officer,” she gives an example. 

In addition, she points out that the 2017 Constitution and the NACC law also give the NACC the authority to prosecute those who do not seriously comply with ethical standards whether it is the Constitutional Court, various independent organizations, political officials including ministers, MPs, and senators.

In the past, the NACC has filed lawsuits and the Supreme Court has ruled that many politicians have faced a political ban for life, while some have been sentenced to be banned for 10 years, which was like a political execution.

“The current NACC law has quite severe penalties for corrupt people or politicians whose behavior is considered serious misconduct. This resulted in an attempt from the political side to amend the law to reduce the NACC's authority to suppress corruption,” the former NACC director concludes, adding that the procession for seeking NACC’s directors must be 100% free from politics so there won’t be an interference to the work of the NACC.


*This exclusive interview and translation are funded by the National Anti-Corruption Fund (NACF).