The Question of Independent Agencies

(9 April 2013) The committee of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) dismissed the allegation that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has given 30 million baht loan to her partner's company. The NACC explained the transaction did not violate any laws and that the loan interest has been properly paid.

However, a day before the NACC decision, Constitutional Court tribunal announced a 3-2 decision to pursue the complaint that the ongoing process to amend Article 68 of the 2007 Constitution is illegal. The complaint demanded the Court dissolve the 6 political parties involved in the process.

The decision-making process and the extent of power of these so-called independent agencies have long been subject of scrutiny and worries.  

Two major concerns have been raised about these agencies: that the source of legitimacy of the agencies is not directly associated with the sovereign power of the people, and that many decisions handed down by these bodies have led to outcry of grave double-standard.

Many have also questioned whether the agencies are still necessary. Even the independent bodies established following the enactment of 1997 Constitution have been likewise questioned.

As Mr. Wisanu Waranyu, vice chairman of the Central Administrative Court, observed last month: unaccountable wielding of power by any agency will only naturally sow distrust among the society.

If the bodies wish to survive, they are required to build a truly transparent and accountable process with which the agencies operate.

Otherwise, the calls to abolish these so-called independent agencies will never cease.