Pracha sentenced to 12 years | Bangkok Post: learning

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Pracha sentenced to 12 years

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Ex-deputy interior minister Pracha Maleenont and the former city fire department chief receive long prison sentences in fire vehicle scandal as three others, including former Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin, are acquitted. 

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A 2006 photo shows the fire trucks imported from Austria by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), left stranded at Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri after the dispute over their purchase. That case has resulted in a 12-year jail term for ex-deputy interior minister Pracha Maleenont (top) and 10 years for the former BMA fire chief Athilak Tanchukiat.

Pracha sentenced to 12 years

Apirak off the hook, but ex-fire chief gets jail time

POST REPORTERS

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions Tuesday convicted ex-deputy interior minister Pracha Maleenont and the former city fire department chief of malfeasance in connection with the purchase of fire trucks and boats.

A majority of the nine judges ruled to hand down a 12-year prison term to Pracha and a 10-year term to Pol Maj Gen Athilak Tanchukiat, former director of the Public Disaster Prevention Office, for their roles in the 6.687-billion-baht procurement deal.

Pracha is the fourth political office holder to be slapped with a jail sentence by the court – after former public health minister Rakkiat Sukthana, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and former deputy interior minister Vatana Asavahame.

The Supreme Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Pracha, who missed the reading of the verdict for the second time Tuesday. Pracha was reported to have fled overseas.

A warrant was also issued for the arrest of Pol Maj Gen Athilak who did not show up at the court Tuesday.

Former Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin, former interior minister Pokin Polakul and former commerce minister Watana Muangsook were cleared of wrongdoing because of a lack of evidence. All of them turned up at the court.

The charges against Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug AG, the Austrian supplier, were temporarily dismissed.

The case was brought before the Supreme Court in 2011 by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which accused the five individuals and the supplier of malfeasance and price collusion over the purchase of 315 fire trucks and 30 fire boats.

A December 2004 photo shows then Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Maleenont, left, presenting a glass replica of the royal barge Suphannahongsa to ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Both former politicians have now received prison sentences from the same court. APICHIT JINAKUL

According to the NACC, the procurement was overpriced and benefited the Austrian supplier, and Pracha and Pol Maj Gen Athilak failed to compare the prices with those of the same types of locally manufactured and distributed equipment.

The purchase contract was signed by late Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej, while his successor, Mr Apirak, signed a letter of credit for the contract, committing City Hall to begin paying the supplier.

The four men, along with the Austrian supplier, were accused of corruptly arranging the deal, which was found by the anti-graft agency to be highly overpriced.

Mr Apirak was forced to step down as the city governor when the NACC decided on the indictment.

He thanked the court Tuesday for granting him justice.

Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra declined to discuss the case Tuesday out of concerns it might affect the ongoing dispute between City Hall and the fire vehicle supplier.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) brought the case to the Geneva-based Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in its attempt to cancel the contract in 2010. MR Sukhumbhand said the BMA will send the Supreme Court's ruling to the international court of arbitration for consideration.

The BMA has already filed a lawsuit with the Civil Court against those involved in the scandal, a source at the BMA said.

Another source at the BMA said although City Hall has already made payments to the supplier, it has not taken possession of the fire vehicles.

All 315 fire trucks and 30 fire boats have remained at Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri and a warehouse in Nonthaburi's Sai Noi district.

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Vocabulary:

accuse: to say that someone has done something wrong or committed a crime - กล่าวหา

arbitration: the official process of settling an argument or a disagreement by somebody who is not involved อนุญาโตตุลาการ - อนุญาโตตุลาการ

arrest: (of the police) taking someone to a police station because they are believed to have committed a crime - การจับกุม

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA): the local government of Bangkok - กรุงเทพมหานคร

benefit: to give an advantage to someone - มีประโยชน์ต่อ

charge : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา

Civil Court: a court that deals with non-criminal matters, especially complaints made by people against other people or organisations - ศาลแพ่ง

clear: to prove that somebody is innocent, i.e., that someone is not guilty of what they have been accused of - พิสูจน์ว่าไม่มีความผิด

collusion: secretly working together to do something dishonest - การสมรู้ร่วมคิด

commerce minister: the minister in charge of the Commerce Ministry - รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงพาณิชย์

commit: to promise to do something - ให้คำมั่นสัญญา

concern: a worry - ความกังวล

conciliation: a process that is intended to end an argument between two groups of people - การประนอม, การไกล่เกลี่ยข้อพิพาท

consideration: giving careful thought to something before making a decision - การคิดพิจารณา

convict: to prove in a court of law that someone is guilty of a crime - พิสูจน์ว่าผิดกฎหมาย

deal: a formal agreement, especially in business or politics - ข้อตกลง, การตกลงซื้อขาย, การซื้อขาย

decline: to say politely that you will not accept something or do something - ปฏิเสธที่จะทำ 

deputy interior minister: a member of the cabinet who helps oversee the Thai ministry with responsibility over the Royal Thai Police, local administrations, internal security, citizenship, disaster management, land management, issuing national identity cards and public works - รัฐมนตรีช่วยว่าการกระทรวงมหาดไทย

disaster: an unexpected event, such as a very bad accident, a flood or a fire, that kills a lot of people or causes a lot of damage - ภัยพิบัติ ความหายนะ

dismiss a case: (of a court of law) to decide that the charges made against a person or organisation are not correct or proper procedures have not been followed and the case should not be taken to court - ยกฟ้อง

dispute: a serious disagreement - ข้อโต้แย้ง

distribute: to give something out to many different places - แจกจ่าย

evidence: facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime - หลักฐาน

file: to take official action like making a complaint - ยื่น, ยื่นคำร้อง

fled (past of flee): escaped; left an area very quickly because of a danger there - หนีไป

graft: corruption - การฉ้อโกง

grant: to officially give something - ให้

import: to buy or bring in products from another country - นำเข้า

indictment: an official statement accusing someone of a serious crime - การฟ้องร้อง, การดำเนินคดี

individual: a person considered separately rather than as part of a group - บุคคล

issue: to officially announce or give out - ออก, ออกประกาศ, ออกคำสั่ง

jail term: the length of time a person is required to spend in jail -

judge: someone whose job is to make decisions in a court of law - ตุลาการ, ผู้พิพากษา

justice: a fair result or punishment from a court of law - ความยุติธรรม

lack: to not have something needed - ขาด

late: dead - ที่ล่วงลับไปแล้ว

lawsuit: a case that a court is asked to decide involving a disagreement between two people or groups - คดีที่ยื่นฟ้องต่อศาล

letter of credit: a letter from a bank guaranteeing that a buyer's payment to a seller will be received on time and for the correct amount - หนังสือยืนยันการสั่งซื้อ

locally: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ในท้องถิ่น, ในประเทศ

majority: more than 50 percent of a group - เสียงส่วนใหญ่

malfeasance: illegal actions, especially by a person in authority - การใช้อำนาจไปในทางที่ผิด

manufacture: to make and produce a product - ผลิต

National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC): An independent government organisation to investigate corruption carried out by government officials - ปปช. (สำนักคณะกรรมการป้องกันและปราบปรามการทุจริตแห่งชาติ)

off the hook: freed from a difficult situation or a punishment - ปล่อยให้เป็นอิสระจาก (ความยุ่งยาก, ความรับผิดชอบ, การตัดสินใจ)

ongoing: continuing - อย่างต่อเนื่อง

ousted: forced out of a position of power - ขับออกจากอำนาจ

overpriced: too expensive; costing more than it is worth - แพงเกิน

overseas: in another country - ต่างประเทศ

possession: having or owning something - การครอบครอง

prevention: preventing something bad from happening - การป้องกันภ้ย

procurement: the process of buying supplies or equipment for a government department or company - การจัดซื้อวัสดุ เครื่องมือสำหรับบริษัท หรือหน่วยงานของรัฐ

purchase: the process of buying something - การซื้อ

replica: an accurate copy of something - งานศิลปะที่จำลองจากของจริง, ของจำลอง

role: the position or purpose that someone or something has in a situation, organisation, society or relationship - บทบาท

rule: (of a court or other group with similar authority) to make and announce a decision - ตัดสิน, พิพากษา, ชี้ขาด

scandal: a situation in which people behave in a dishonest or immoral way that shocks people - เรื่องอื้อฉาว

sentence: (of a court of law) to officially state what someone's punishment will be - พิพากษา, ตัดสินลงโทษ

show up: to arrive at a place - แสดงตัว, ปรากฏตัว

slap with: to give someone a punishment - ลงโทษ

source: a place where information comes from; someone who gives information - แหล่ง

stranded: left somewhere with no way of going anywhere else - ปล่อยเกาะ ถูกทิ้งไว้

successor: someone who has an important position after someone else - ผู้สืบทอดตำแหน่ง

supplier: a person or company that supplies goods - ผู้จัดหาสิ่งของให้, ผู้ผลิตสินค้าและวัตถุดิบ

Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions: a trial court in a case where the Prime Minister, a minister, member of the House of Representatives, senator or other political official is accused of becoming unusually wealthy, committing crimes with in office, performing duties dishonestly, or being corrupted according to other laws. - ศาลฎีกา แผนกคดีอาญาของผู้ดำรงตำแหน่งทางการเมือง

temporarily: only for a limited time; not permanent - ชั่วคราว

turn up: to come somewhere - มาถึง

verdict: a decision by a court of law - คำพิพากษา

warehouse: a large building for storing things - โกดังสินค้า, คลังสินค้า, โรงพัสดุ

warrant: a legal document that is signed by a judge and gives the police authority to do something - หมาย

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