[EDITORIALS]Civic audits jeopardize securityThe government has taken steps to allow civic groups to request an audit of procurement projects starting next year. In addition, the government said civic groups could also attend important meetings related to procurement projects.
The moves are aimed at increasing transparency and blocking corruption. Nevertheless, the newly announced measures should be thought over again, as they can bring negative side effects to the procurement process.
It is true that corruption has been the norm throughout many procurement projects by the military. Thus, the current government has been pushing for the establishment of a new procurement organization.
The organization will be composed of experts from the civilian sector as well as the military and take over the procurement process that is currently scattered among the three military branches of the Defense Ministry.
The move would consolidate all groups into one organization in order to increase transparency and efficiency. Nevertheless, the government is planning to introduce civilian auditors into the procurement process.
Does that mean that the government’s other auditing agencies will just stand by and do nothing?
The first item that raises doubt is how much expertise these civic groups have in state-of-the-art weapons acquisition that requires highly sophisticated knowledge.
For instance, in the case of buying a airborne warning and control system (AWACS) plane, it’s even difficult for experts, who have been working for dozen of years in this area, to know in regards to price and performance, which plane is appropriate for our national interests. And production costs of various weapons are not accessible to civic movement.
If procurement information of new weapons that require secrecy is made public, the performance data and combat capabilities of such weapons are in danger of being exposed.
Civic groups have been involved in every aspect of the administration since it came into power and are now even venturing into arms procurement. In this country, if civic groups are not involved it’s hard for transparency to be guaranteed. Who has empowered the civic groups?
And what is the Board of Audit and Inspection, the audit bureau under the Defense Ministry and the National Assembly doing?