Rail bidding comes under microscope

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has appointed a panel to look into the e-bidding process by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to find contractors for two of its double-track rail projects, valued at 128 billion baht, according to the Isra news agency.

The move follows a petition demanding Gen Prayut to review the bidding process in which the bid winner’s offer is 0.08% lower than the reference price and raises suspicions about possible price collusion.

Among critics are Warong Dechgitvigrom, acting leader of the Thai Pakdee Party, and Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT), who questioned its transparency and called for public scrutiny.

According to Isra news, Gen Prayut signed an order appointing the inquiry panel on June 17 and named Danai Musa, a specialist attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, as its chairman.

Mr Danai served as a deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council before for two years before his transfer to the PM’s Office in April last year.

The two projects are the 323-kilometre northern section worth 72.9 billion baht from Den Chai to Chiang Rai-Chiang Kong and the 355-kilometre northeastern section, worth 55.4 billion baht, between Mukdahan and Nakhon Phanom.

Mr Danai has reportedly sent a letter to Dr Warong asking him to give information to the investigation committee on July 5, according to the Isara news agency.

Dr Warong posted on his Facebook yesterday saying he and others have been asked to provide information about the e-bidding process of the two rail projects.

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