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Thailand Slips in Global Corruption Survey

Thailand was ranked 16th out of 28 countries in the Asia-Pacific region with Singapore obtaining the highest score of 86.

Thailand was ranked 16th out of 28 countries in the Asia-Pacific region with Singapore obtaining the highest score of 86.

BANGKOK – Corruption in Thailand remains rampant with global corruption survey revealing that the country falling from 88th in 2012 to 102nd this year.

Transparency Thailand secretary-general Juree Vichitvadakan said that Thailand now ranked 102nd out of 177 countries with a score of 35 out of 100 for transparency in the Corruption Perception Index for 2013 that was released Tuesday.

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In 2012, Thailand ranked 88th but fell 14 spots this year to 102.

She said Thailand now was par with Ecuador, Moldova, and Panama.

Transparency International based the findings on opinions polls from 13 pollsters. Only 54 countries received a score higher than 50.

Thailand was ranked 16th out of 28 countries in the Asia-Pacific region with Singapore obtaining the highest score of 86.

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Singapore was also on the list of the world’s top five countries with low corruption levels, she said.

Transparency International, which published the list, said the Corruption Index “ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.”

It collates expert views on the problem from bodies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, Economists Intelligence Unit, Bertelsmann Foundation, Freedom House, and other groups.

It then ranks countries on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means a country’s public sector is considered highly corrupt and 100 means it is regarded as very clean.

Meanwhile in Bangkok,  The Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has found that more senior officials may have been involved in alleged corruption in the government’s rice-pledging scheme.

NACC member and spokesman Vicha Mahakhun said yesterday three former government officials and former deputy commerce minister Poom Sarapol would be summoned for questioning.

The three officials to face probes are Manas Soiploy, the former director-general of the Foreign Trade Department; Thikhamporn Natworathat, the former director of the department’s office for rice trade management; and Akkharapong Teepwatchara, the former secretary of the department.

Mr Manas served as a negotiator in the government-to-government rice deal between Bangkok and Beijing. However, the deal raised NACC suspicions that it might be a tactic to bar fair competition in the government’s rice sales.

Individuals, both Thais and Chinese, representing firms involved in the deal and in the negotiations would also face probes in the same case, Mr Vicha said.

The NACC has identified three people that will face the inquiries. They are Rathanit Sojirakul, Somkid Ueansupha and Litr Phojai, he said.

The three are allegedly connected to rice exporter Siam Indica, which is accused of using GSGS Import and Export Corporation _ a China-based company that runs a business which has nothing to do with rice _ as a front to benefit from the government’s rice-pledging scheme.

The allegations in the rice deal were levelled by the opposition Democrat Party.

“The government makes it look as though this rice trade deal is a government-to-government programme simply to sidestep competition in the price bidding,” Mr Vicha said.

As a result, the government could only sell rice at prices below the market price between August 2011 and June this year, he said.

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