Saturday, October 31, 2020

Thailand: Watchdog says developers paid over B1bn in bribes

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Around 1.5 billion baht in “tea money”, or bribes, was paid to civil servants handling applications to construct residential and large commercial buildings, according to corruption watchdog Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT).

Mana Nimitrmongkol, secretary-general of the ACT, said in a Facebook post titled “Tea money makes home buyers pay more than they should,” that the information was compiled by real estate operators affected by corruption.

Last year, a total of 61,000 condominium units and 22,000 housing units and other residential buildings won construction permits in Bangkok, he said.

According to Mr Mana, to buy a single condominium unit, real estate developers were forced to pay amounts ranging between 2,700 baht and 4,100 baht, or an average of 3,500 baht to civil servants to secure the construction permit.

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In total, around 211 million baht in tea money was paid for 61,000 newly-purchased condo units last year.

To build houses and buildings, that average cost per unit was even higher. Developers paid an average of 9,000 baht in tea money to civil servants handling these types of projects, he said.

This totalled around 197 million baht for all 22,000 new houses and buildings. The total cost of tea money paid to build or purchase houses, buildings and individual condo units exceeds 408 million baht.

Developers also had to pay bribes to civil servants to get permits to construct large buildings, such as department stores and industrial premises.

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The total is thought to have reached around 1 billion baht last year, Mr Mana said.

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