BANGKOK – Thailand’s Military imposed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has appealed for no judgement to be passed on the regime’s ability to tackle graft after it failed to improve the country’s latest corruption ranking.
The prime minister said that overall the country’s rankings in several criteria “were not all that bad”. Some of them have improved, while others have gone down and a series of recent corruption scandals involving Thailand had occurred in the past.
Gen Prayut told the Thai Media that anti-graft bodies have also launched their own inquiries and he had never stood in the way of their investigations.
He cited astrological predictions that things that have been concealed will all be revealed.
“Fortune-tellers said that it is the year of exposing the truth, but I am not concerned about it as I am always ready for scrutiny,” Gen Prayut told the Bangkok Post.
“When any information has been revealed, inquiries must be carried out. But don’t try to dwell too much on it. We have to consider both positives and negative impacts.”
He said that fortune-tellers also predicted that “bad guys will be punished this year”.
“Therefore, be good and follow the principles of moral conduct, work for the country, stay away from corruption,” the prime minister said.
Gen Prayut made the comments after Thailand’s corruption ranking plummeted, from 76th in 2015 to 101st place in the 176 countries in the 2016 assessment by independent watchdog Transparency International.
The plummeting of the country’s corruption ranking came as the government has come under pressure to launch probes into several bribery scandals exposed by international agencies.
Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission secretary-general Sansern Poljeak expressed disappointment that Thailand’s CPI ranking for 2016 has dropped.
The NACC expected Thailand to have scored more than 38 points, Mr Sansern said, while noting that “being a democratic country” has also been used in calculating the CPI score this year.