If Thailand ever wishes to open a theme park showcasing the evils of corruption there will be no shortage of exhibits. There might, however, be a shortage of space in which to fit them all.
Jostling for room will be the 315 rusting fire trucks and 30 overpriced fire-fighting boats ordered by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration from an Austrian company in 2004. Instead of helping to save lives and property, they remain unused and mired in a legal limbo after bid-rigging blighted their procurement. Now the city authorities want their money back.
Although the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions this week sentenced ex-deputy interior minister Pracha Maleenont to 12 years in prison for corruptly arranging the 6.687 billion baht deal, he jumped bail and is believed to have left the country. If so, he will be following an established precedent. Another former deputy interior minister, Vatana Asavahame, did the same in 2008 to escape a 10-year sentence for his involvement in the Klong Dan waste water project in Samut Prakan. That scandal has so far cost taxpayers more than 23 billion baht.
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