11 will be charged over skytrain extension contract

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will bring charges against city governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, eight other individuals and two firms for making an unauthorised contract with Bangkok Transit System Co (BTSC) to operate extensions to the skytrain system, without permission from the interior minister.

  • Published: 2/01/2013 at 04:26 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, right, inspects the skytrain operation. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Others to be charged along with MR Sukhumbhand are: Teerachon Manomaipiboon, a Bangkok deputy governor; Charoenrat Chutikan, the city clerk; Ninnat Chalitanont, deputy city clerk; Thana Wichaisarn, director of the Department of Traffic and Transport of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA); Prapanpong Vejjajiva, chairman of Krungthep Thanakhom Co; Amorn Kijchawengkul, managing director of Krungthep Thanakhom; Keeree Kanchanapas, executive chairman of BTSC; Surapong Laoha-anya, BTSC director of operations; the Krungthep Thanakhom; and the BTSC.

DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said on Wednesday a special cases committee decided to recommend laying charges against the 11 at a meeting on Oct 10 last year for violation of Article 58 of Announcement No 58, dated Jan 26, 1972 issued by coup-makers, and Articles 59, 83, 84 and 86 of the Criminal Code.

The 11 are required to report to DSI investigators on Jan 9 between 9am and 3pm, he said.

The special cases committee and prosecutors found in their joint investigation that the BMA on April 9, 1992 signed a contract with the BTSC for the company to operate the current skytrain routes for 30 years, from 1999 until 2029. This contract was made with proper permission from the interior minister.

On April 2, 2012 the BMA signed a contract with Krungthep Thanakhom, city hall's business arm, for it to manage and operate the BTSC.

On April 3, Krungthep Thanakhom entered into a contract giving BTSC the right to be the sole operator of three extension routes - On Nut-Bearing, Taksin-Wong Wian Yai, and Wong Wian Yai-Bang Wa

The contract was made without proper permission from the interior minister, Mr Pengdit said.

Mr Tarit said the DSI had not handled this case under instructions from any political group, but had strictly followed the law.

MR Sukhumbhand said in response that the BMA would ask the court to decide if the DSI violated Articles 157 and 200 of the Criminal Code and is guilty of abuse of power and laying false charges.

If the DSI wanted the Ministry of Interior to revoke the contract with BTSC, the ministry had to consider the matter very carefully because it would affect Bangkok commuters, he said.

"The BMA insists that the legal aspects of the project were thoroughly inspected before it was carried out," the incumbent governor said.

The BMA had used its authority legitimately, he said.

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Writer: King-Oua Laohong and Supoj Wancharoen

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