Friday, December 04, 2009

Thailand - Government seeks out unlawful concession changes dating back over the last decade

[bangkok post] Economic ministers yesterday advised the Finance and Information and Communications Technology ministries to review all amendments made to agreements between the two state telecoms enterprises and their private concession holders to ensure the contracts are lawful.

More than 40 amendments have been made to the telecom concessions granted by TOT Plc and CAT Telecom in the past 10 years, said Puttipong Punnakan, vice-minister to the Prime Minister's Office.

The Council of State, the government's legal arm, ruled two years ago that some of these amendments were unlawful because they did not follow legal procedures and past cabinets were never notified of the changes, he said.

As such it was agreed at the meeting that the Finance and the ICT ministers should use their own discretion to review the amendments and reported back with their findings within 90 days.

The ministries were advised to revoke or annul any concession amendments that caused damage to the state, he said.An informed source said the amendments between TOT and five private operators included seven changes with Advanced Info Service relating to extending the concession from 20 to 25 years and revenue sharing. Nineteen changes were made to the True Corporation concession on fixed-line services, of which seven changes were unlawful.

Changes to concession agreements between CAT Telecom and Total Access Communication (DTAC) included three changes to extend the concession from 15 years to 22 years and later from 22 years to 27 years.

Changes to the mobile phone concession contract between CAT Telecom and True Move did not follow the joint public-private investment law, the source said.

Ministries check concession amendments

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