Thailand grapples with low rating as UN anti-corruption pact turns 20


Image from The Nation Thailand/ANN

BANGKOK (The Nation Thailand/ANN): Saturday is International Anti-Corruption Day, which has been observed annually since the passage of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2003.

Thailand, among the 190 UNCAC signatories, has consistently pursued anti-graft policies in both public and private sectors.

Yet, despite these efforts, Thailand is still “perceived as more corrupt” in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

The kingdom ranks 101st in the global corruption index among 180 nations, according to the 2022 CPI report, which was published in January 2023.

UNCAC, which is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument, addresses the cross-border nature of corruption by accounting for the need of international cooperation in the prevention, criminalisation, and return of stolen assets.

According to the convention, “corruption can be prosecuted after the fact, but first and foremost, it requires prevention”. An entire chapter of the convention is dedicated to prevention, with measures directed at both the public and private sectors.

The convention requires countries to establish criminal and other offences to cover a wide range of acts of corruption if they are not already crimes under domestic law.

UNCAC provisions specify how cooperation and assistance will be rendered in case countries seek the return of illicit assets and public funds earned from corruption.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the convention, and the occasion is being marked under the theme of “UNCAC at 20: Uniting the World against Corruption”.

Thailand scored 36 out of 100, up one point from the year earlier, in the 2022 CPI report published by the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International. Its ranking improved by nine spots, moving up from the 110th spot in 2021.

Thailand shares the 101 ranking with Albania, Serbia, Turkey, Panama, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Ecuador, and Peru.

Over the past decade, Thailand’s CPI ranking has fluctuated, placing it mostly in the bottom half: 85th in 2014, 76th in 2015, 101st in 2016, 96th in 2017, 99th in 2018, 101st in 2019, 104th in 2020, and 110th in 2021.

Among Southeast Asian countries, Thailand ranks fourth, following Singapore (5th globally), Malaysia (61st) and Vietnam (77th).

The top 10 countries “perceived as less corrupt” in the 2022 CPI ranking are Denmark (scoring 90), New Zealand (87), Finland (87), Norway (84), Singapore (83), Sweden (83), Switzerland (82), Netherlands (80), Germany (79), and Luxembourg (77).

The 10 worst-performing countries in the CPI ranking are Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, North Korea, Haiti, and Libya. - The Nation Thailand/ANN

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