Thongchai Thailand

Corruption is bigger than image

Posted on: July 1, 2010

It  is reported that Thailand’s PACC (Public sector Anti Corruption Commission) is committed to “preventing wrongful activities” between investors and government officials because corruption has “led to a bad image for Thailand” (Agencies pledge to prevent corruption, Bangkok Post, June 30, 2010). It is good to worry about image but for anti corruption efforts to be effective the motivation must also include the actual desire to ensure the integrity of laws and procedures that may otherwise become corrupted by illicit behaviors usually made possible by absent or ineffective mechanisms for transparency and accountability.

For example, if a political party uses bribery to facilitate political appointments to the election commission, elections may become corrupted and compromised and unable to provide the intended function to the country and its citizens. It is this aspect of corruption that should serve as the primary motivation for anti corruption efforts.

If the motivation is image-building, there is a danger that anti-corruption measures may turn out to be nothing more than window dressing and therefore ineffective in actually reducing corruption. The function of the PACC itself becomes corrupted if the Commission is charged with image-building instead of fighting corruption.

Cha-am Jamal, Thaailand

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