Anti-graft group wants full disclosure of investment details
- Published: 2/10/2013 at 01:31 PM
- Online news:
The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand has asked the government to disclose all information about its investment in megaprojects, even though it may be legally confidential, chairman Pramon Sutivong said.
The government has designated its investment in a new tollway between Bang Pa-In in Ayutthaya and Nakhon Ratchasima as a pilot project for the joint examination of graft by the public and private sectors. The estimated cost is 84.6 billion baht.
After a meeting with finance and transport ministers, Mr Pramon said on Wednesday the government has already drafted the PM's office regulation on procurement for the project. It allows the appointment of observers and examiners, including representatives from the private sector.
However, he wants a clearer regulation, particularly on disclosure of investment information. He said it should detail what type of information must be disclosed to the public.
“The regulation only says that information must be disclosed by law, but some organisations (project owners) usually fail to provide information if there is no request for it. Sometimes, they said the information is confidential,” he said.
A Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) skytrain station under construction on the outskirts of Bangkok in this August 28, 2012 file photo. Such megaproject investment should be transparent to ensure there is no corruption, says the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand.
Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt said the government agreed to consider the concerns raised by the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand. Details about disclosure of information may be set later by a committee to be set up under this regulation.
He said the government’s investments under the two-trillion-baht megaproject budget will involve 533 contracts. If the legislation is approved by the parliament this year, the first project - the motorway construction between Bang-Pa-In and Nakhon Ratchasima - would be a pilot project for joint examination.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong said representatives from the private sector appointed as observers should be knowledgable, honest and have appropriate qualifications. If some proposed names were not appropriate, the private sector could propose changes to the committee.
He said investments under the huge budget had to be implemented under related laws, including the National Anti-Corruption Act which states that government investment must have a “median price” in the bidding process.
Mr Kittiratt said the purpose of drafting the new regulation was to ensure transparency. If the public and private sector respresentatives carefully examine the project it would ensure transparency. This practice could then be applied to other investment projects under other legislation, and to normal budget spending.
Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana said the observers to be appointed will be specialists drawn from various fields who have no conflict of interest in the project. They would examine the investment for details, such as the setting of terms of reference that should be neutral, bringing no benefit to or barring any bidders.
Asked about transparency in the selection of observers, Mr Pramon said the committee considering the investment projects, chaired by a deputy prime minister, will select the observers.
He was confident that the committee - comprising 14 members, nine from the private sector - would be fair in the selection process and nominate observers who are impartial.
The draft PM's office regulation has already been approved by the Council of State, so it can be proposed for the cabinet for approval next week.
About the author
- Writer: Wichit Chantanusornsiri
Position: Business Reporter