WEDNESDAY, February 28, 2024

New MRT Orange Line bidding process rife with corruption, claim BTS bosses

New MRT Orange Line bidding process rife with corruption, claim BTS bosses

The bidding process for Bangkok’s MRT Orange Line is rife with corruption, a top BTSC executive claimed.

Surapong Laoha-Unya, chief of the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC), was speaking at an anti-corruption seminar organised on Friday by the Democrat Party. The meeting, held to mark International Anti-Corruption Day, was held at Chong Nonsi BTS station.

Surapong said BTSC had participated in many government auctions and always won them transparently.

When bidding for the western section of the MRT Orange Line opened in May 2020, 10 companies including BTS bought the auction envelopes, he said.

However, he said, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) changed the terms of reference just before BTS submitted its bid.

Surapong said this was strange and untransparent, so BTS took its complaint to court, which ruled that the previous criteria be reinstated.

Then on November 9, 2020, two companies including BTS bid for the Orange Line, but MRTA scrapped the bids on February 3, 2021.

BTS again took the case to the Administrative Court, but its plea for an injunction was rejected and MRTA was allowed to go ahead with the bidding.

Surapong said he was surprised his company was not allowed to join the bidding under the new criteria even though BTSC has been part of the industry for years.

Meanwhile, Keeree Kanjanapas, chair of BTS Group Holdings, alleged that there has been a lot of graft over the past two to three years.

He said his company has been bidding transparently for infrastructure projects for more than 30 years now, including the BTS Green Line, MRT Pink Line and expressways.

“Since today is Anti-Corruption Day, I would call on those who are involved to think of their country, because they are damaging it for their personal benefit. If the country is not stable, nobody can survive,” Keeree said.

He also said the government should be able to justify its reasons for pushing through a project that is rife with corruption as it is “committing a sin against the country”.

“What I want to see today is justice. I admit that I have won and lost bids, but every bid was won lawfully. BTS has people’s trust and has never damaged the country,” he said.

“It will be a shame if this project worth more than 100 billion baht is approved because it will be the worst corruption case in Thailand and I will not give up easily if things are incorrect.”

Earlier last week, Surapong spoke about a rumour that the Cabinet will push through the MRT Orange Line bidding process. He said he wasn’t sure about this rumour because three related cases are still being considered by the Administrative Court.

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