Transcript of the conversation seeking ฿5m kickback from Ground Water Resources Department
Thai PBS has obtained a transcript, purporting to be of a phone conversation between Mr. Sakda Wichiensilp, Director-General of Thailand’s Ground Water Resources Department, and an unidentified MP. The MP allegedly demanded five million baht in kickbacks from Mr. Sakda, in exchange for approval, by a panel of the House Budget Scrutiny Committee, of the department’s 1.2 billion baht budget for artesian water projects in the Northeast.
Transcript (translated from Thai):
- MP: “If no, the 1.2 billion baht for artesian well projects in the Northeast will be cut.”
- Sakda: “No!”
- MP: “Then just 5.”
- Sakda: “5% of 1.2 billion is 60 million baht”
- MP: “No. It means 5 million baht.”
- Sakda: “Where can I get the money?”
- MP: “From the contractors!”
(Mr. Sakda continues to resist the demand)
- MP: “So, meet you at the conference room.”
It is reported that the same MP approached Mr. Sakda prior to entering budget scrutiny subcommittee meeting room and reduced the kickback demand to two million baht, but Mr. Sakda continued to resist.
Meanwhile, Mr. Santi Prompat, chairman of the House Budget Scrutiny Committee, said his committee will investigate the graft allegation, while Mr. Siripong Rasamee, an advisor to the House subcommittee, has called on Mr. Sakda to reveal all about the allegation, otherwise the reputation of the whole subcommittee will be tarnished.
Mr. Ruangkrai Likitwattana, a member of the House Budget Scrutiny Committee, said he disagrees with the committee itself investigating the subcommittee, fearing that it will just be a whitewash.