Group urges NACC to probe alleged bribery at THAI, PTT

Economy February 17, 2017 01:00

By SUCHAT SRITAMA
THE NATION 

 THE NATIONAL Anti-Corruption Commission must lead an investigation into alleged bribery and corruption at Thai Airways International and PTT, a private anti-corruption group said yesterday. 



“The NACC must react to the bribery cases both at THAI and PTT. It also should lead the investigation and search for further information and facts,” said Vicha Mahakun, dean of the faculty of law at Rangsit University and a former NACC member.

He also strongly advised the NACC to accuse suspects involved in the cases, both Thais and foreigners living overseas, when it has enough evidence.

“We do not want to see this terrifying problem damage our country and economy in the future,” he said.

In addition, he called on Thai people to help seek information on similar issues at other government bodies and business organisations.

The private Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) yesterday held a second seminar on how to encourage ordinary Thais to help wipe out graft in the wake of a probe into alleged wrongdoing at THAI and PTT.

Margaret Tongue, charge d’affaires at the British Embassy in Bangkok, said her government would help Thailand investigate the cases as much as possible, but it needed to consider the impacts from the cooperation.

The British government has been enforcing its anti-corruption laws for years including the recent case involving Rolls-Royce. It has nine departments working on anti-corruption and will always help other states to solve problem and/or prevent further corruption, she said.

Somsak Manop, vice president of the labour union at THAI, said it would follow the investigation into allege bribery and corruption at the national carrier. The union on Sunday spoke to media about THAI’s problems, alleging poor management and wrongful decisions that caused huge losses. 

However, the airline’s public relations department on Wednesday released a statement regarding the Rolls-Royce issue, saying THAI placed importance on revising procurement regulations and conducting investigations into suspected corruption regardless of whether the British aero-engine maker was involved.

THAI said it had continually placed high importance on transparency regarding procurements, as evidenced through revisions to its procurement regulations. 

In the statement, THAI said it would not make procurements through middlemen; a procurement committee must be established with committee members from various departments for a balance of power. 

The company’s procedures are in strict adherence to state-entity procurement standards to be fair and transparent, it said. Documentation is kept in case of future audits. 

The airline has entered an integrity pact for the purchase of engines and attainment of aircraft-maintenance partners, in order to be fully confident that there is no bribery at THAI, it said. 

In 2014, a transformation plan included plans to improve procurement efficiency in order to ensure that improvements would be made regularly and that the company’s procurements could be audited by the public sector on a regular basis, THAI said. 

The Public Sector Spending Monitoring and Auditing Committee, established by the military’s ruling National Council for Peace and Order, appointed a subcommittee to investigate THAI’s procurement process in mid-2016. The panel chaired by General Chaiyaporn Rathpat found no objections, THAI said. 

In mid-2016, the company also set up its own committee to improve procurement efficiency that was made up of four board members. Chaired by General Chartudom Titthasiri, it conducts regular operations, it said.

THAI also said its annual general shareholders’ meeting had approved the appointment of the Office of the Auditor-General of Thailand, which audits the accounts of all state enterprises, to conduct audits of the company’s accounts. It said the Office of the Auditor-General has found no evidence of fixed accounts or any abnormal documentation of accounting conditions.