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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Thailand’s artificial intelligence reveals corruption in public procurement

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AI analysis of public procurement system reveals more than 80,000 contracts with signs of abuse

More than 80,000 government contracts in Thailand have been flagged as having signs of abuse after an artificial intelligence analysis of the government procurement system by the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand, the Bangkok Post has reported.

The organisation marked more than 80,000 government contracts questionable over the past seven years to show that corruption persists despite repeated promises by officials to comply with project and procurement management rules, Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of the anti-corruption agency, said on its Facebook page.

According to the analysis, the Royal Irrigation Department, with 6,197 projects showing signs of abuse, is in the top 10 government agencies whose projects require scrutiny. In second place is the Department of Provincial Administrations (2,513) and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (2,111).

This is followed by the Department of Rural Roads (1966), Thailand Electricity Generation Authority (1503), Department of Roads (1020), Provincial Water Authority (993), Metropolitan Water Authority (949), Water Resources Department (828) and Provincial Electricity Authority (725).

The Chief Computer Department analysed the government’s procurement system using artificial intelligence, Mana said. The analysis showed that many government contracts showed signs of corruption, but it did not mean that bribery specifically took place, he explained.

The purpose of the analysis was to show government agencies that many of their procurement contracts need to be monitored more closely, Mana said.

Mana also notes that a frequent sign of corruption is the bidding of fake bidders who subsequently fail to participate in the tender. When one company bids, very often the bid is perfectly in line with the maximum allowable price set by the relevant government agency, which is very similar to collusion.

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