“I Paid a Bribe”… Thailand?

A grassroots movement to identify government officials who press for bribes is growing momentum, thanks to an Indian website (ipaidabribe.com) reports the New York Times.  Thailand is not without serious transparency problems, as reflected in reports from Transparency International and the Business Anti-Corruption Portal.  Although we have not yet run across a Thai "I Paid a Bribe" website, there is a Thai language page on Facebook that discusses corruption in Thailand.

These sites differ from official government sites for reporting corruption in that they seem to be aimed at naming and shaming officials who seek bribes – the "demand side" of bribery.  On the supply side of corruption (that is, bribe-payers), the U.S. government not only has a site for reporting bribes, but also offers bounties of 10-30% on amounts recovered in U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases when such penalties exceed US$1 million.  The average fine for an FCPA case in 2010 was slightly less than US$78 million. The site for reporting bribes to U.S. authorities can be found here, and a brief article on the U.S. law that established this whistleblower program can be found here.

Only time will if these efforts make a difference, but it is certainly clear that, on the private side, there is now a serious press across the region to use the internet and social media to name and shame corrupt government officials.