Ex-DPM Suthep faulted by anti-graft body in police station construction scandal
After almost a decade of investigation into the scandal surrounding the construction of 396 police stations across the country, the National Anti-Corruption Commission today voted unanimously to fault former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban for committing malfeasance in office in connection with the project.
Mr. Suthep, former leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee which engineered the mass protests against the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra over five years ago, was faulted for approving the change of bidding method for the project without the consent of the cabinet.
According to the original plan, the bidding was to be handled independently by nine police bureau. However, Pol Gen Pateep Tanprasert, then the inspector-general who also served as the acting national police chief, proposed to Mr. Suthep that he change the bidding method by combining the 396 police stations into one project and staging just one auction.
The winning bidder was PCC Development and Construction and it was awarded the contract because it submitted the lowest price at 5.846 billion baht, while the budget allocated for the project was 6.298 billion baht.
The NACC voted unanimously to find Pol Gen Pateep at fault for malfeasance in office, in accordance with Section 157 of the Criminal Code. He was also faulted for a gross disciplinary violation.
Five other police officers, who were members of the bidding committee, were also faulted for disciplinary violations. They were Pol Col Chiravuthh Chanpen, Pol Col Sutthi Sotethitat, Pol Col Pichai Pimonsilp, Pol Col Natthadet Poongvareenon and Pol Col Natthachai Boonthawee.
PCC Development and Construction Company and its managing director, Mr. Wissanu Visetsingh, were faulted by the NACC for malfeasance and for breaching the bidding law.
Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, former national police chief Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong and a few top-ranking police officers were cleared of any wrongdoing due to lack of evidence.
The NACC will submit its findings to the Office of the Attorney-General to proceed with legal action against the alleged offenders.
Most of the police stations remain unfinished and abandoned by PCC Development and Construction.