Young whistle-blower gets job offer in anti-corruption work

Panida Yospanya, better known as Nong Baem, who made national headlines last year after she exposed corruption at a local government agency tasked with helping the poor in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen, has finally got a job offer – but not before she had to air her grievances about a broken job promise with the media.

The young graduate said today she received a call from the Government House offering her a position at a regional office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission. 


The job offer came only a day after she complained to the media in Khon Kaen that she was unable to get a job at the Social Development and Human Security Ministry despite an earlier promise by its officials that she was assured of employment at the ministry upon her graduation.


The job promise was seen as a recognition for her role in bringing corruption at the local office in Kon Kaen of the ministry to the attention of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the National Anti-Corruption Commission last August.    


Panida, who was a student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty of Maha Sarakham University, was working as an intern at the Centre for the Protection of the Destitute when she came across evidence of embezzlement of funds allocated for the poor.

She came across the corrupt practice as she was unwittingly involved in the forgery of more than 2,000 receipts that allowed corrupt officials to pocket public funds of worth more than Bt6.9 million.  She subsequently reported her findings to the NCPO and the NACC, prompting a nation-wide investigation that uncovered similar corrupt practices at many other centres.


Panida became an overnight celebrity and was offered employment at the ministry upon graduation.   But four months after her graduation, the promise remained unfulfilled.


Speaking to the press in Khon Kaen on Thursday, she said she contacted officials at the ministry and was  told to wait for new openings and go through the normal recruitment process.  


But Panida’s disappointment didn’t last very long. She said that today she received a call from an official working for Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam with a job offer at the Zone 4 office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission in Khon Kaen.


“I feel overwhelmed by it,” she said, thanking Prime Minister Prayut Chan-on-cha for giving her an opportunity to serve the government.


She said she was excited by the prospect of becoming a civil servant “to work for the community and the society”.