Integrity pacts gain traction

Integrity pacts gain traction

The Finance Ministry will incorporate graft-battling integrity pacts (IPs) into procurement bids for all public projects worth 500 million baht or more.

The IP will be enforced in procurement of projects worth less than 500 million baht if there are enough observers, Deputy Finance Minister Wisudhi Srisuphan said.

At present, only 84 observers are on the pool list.

To ensure observers are free from political influence, the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand (ACT) is responsible for selecting and training them before proposing their names for Finance Ministry approval.

IPs, launched early this year, are deals signed between state agencies and companies bidding for contracts.

They require both parties to declare they will abstain from collusion, bribery and other forms of corruption in the project.

Signatories also consent to allow a third party to monitor the entire process including the drafting of the terms of reference, bidding and the transaction itself.

The Thailand Tobacco Monopoly yesterday signed IPs with bidders and observers nominated by the ACT for two machinery procurement contracts at its new Ayutthaya factory.

Worth a combined 3.6 billion baht, the contracts are part of eight procurement contracts for the factory worth 7.65 billion in total.

That represents the biggest project value value so far for IPs.

IPs have been enforced on government projects including the purchase of NGV-fuelled buses and the construction of the Blue Line mass-transit system.

ACT vice-chairman Vichai Assarasakorn forecasts 20 more procurement contracts for the government will include IPs.

An ACT survey conducted in the first half of this year found the leak rate of public investments averaged 5% of project value, down significantly from 30-35% in the past three or four years.

Public investments amount to 700-800 billion baht this fiscal year.

The ACT wants to see corruption in procurement drop down to zero, Mr Vichai said.

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