Slander suit in police station scandal

The Criminal Court on Monday heard a slander suit brought by former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban against Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith for implicating him in alleged irregularities over the unfinished police station construction project.

  • Published: 21/10/2013 at 05:20 PM
  • Newspaper section: news

The court heard Mr Suthep’s testimony for the second time today after the first hearing took place on Sept 16. 

Mr Suthep told the court that Mr Tarit gave interviews to the press between Jan 21 and Feb 4 this year accusing him of changing bidding methods in the scheme, so that only one contractor could be awarded the entire 5.8 billion baht project.

Mr Suthep oversaw the Royal Thai Police during the Democrat administration.

He argued that Mr Tarit's interviews misled the public into thinking that he interfered with the bidding process, despite the fact that he had signed documents to endorse the original bidding method proposed by Pratcharawat Wongsuwon, then national police chief, as many as four times.

Pol Gen Pratcharawat proposed to allow the nine regional police offices to carry out bidding contests for the project, Mr Suthep said.  

However, Pol Gen Prateep Tanprasert, then acting national police chief, decided to combine all the bidding contests into one, reasoning the method would help save state funds. 

Mr Suthep said he approved the proposed change as he believed in Pol Gen Prateep’s reasoning. He said he then ceased to be involved with the scheme, because the proposals were processed in accordance with Royal Thai Police procedures. 

Mr Suthep added that the DSI chief had pointed his finger at him despite the fact that the investigation into the case was not yet completed. This meant Mr Tarit had effectively tried to tamper with the probe, he said.

The court has set Dec 2 to hear the testimony of two more witnesses on the plaintiff's side.

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