E-auctions only one tool in anti-fraud battle

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In Thailand, after the state procurement scandals, questions are being about the efficiency and ability of electronic auctions to guard against fraud. The CDMA network installation project, the government’s smart ID card programme and various public works contracts by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration are among the ventures that have raised eyebrows over whether the public has received the best services at the lowest prices.

Indeed, the government earlier this month published new standards for state procurement aimed at curbing corruption and collusion and improving transparency.

But electronic auctions alone can never completely prevent fraud, according to Tri Kanchanadul, chief executive officer of Pantavanij Co, Thailand’s first and largest e-procurement company.

“Tight enforcement of the law is the best way to guard against corruption. If more people were prosecuted, then fraud would be less,” Mr Tri said. “E-procurement doesn’t offer any guarantees against fraud. What it does do is help improve transparency and give you the information to track what has happened”.

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