Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra's run for governor is off to a bad start after the Department of Special Investigation yesterday said it would file charges against him and 10 others at City Hall over a skytrain extensions contract.
Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra counters the Department of Special Investigation’s decision to bring charges in connection with City Hall’s decision to grant a contract for skytrain extensions. APICHART JINAKUL
The DSI has decided to press charges against him and 10 others in connection with City Hall's decision to grant a 30-year contract to skytrain operator Bangkok Transit System Co (BTSC).
MR Sukhumbhand, who is seeking a second term as governor, yesterday threatened to file a counter-lawsuit against the DSI.
He said he would ask the Criminal Court to rule if the DSI has violated Articles 157 and 200 of the Criminal Code for pursuing false charges against him.
"The BMA executives have decided to ask the court to rule if the DSI chief has violated the law as soon as we are served with a summons," he said.
"We will also take the case against the special cases committee chaired by the prime minister."
The governor is among nine individuals, along with two companies, accused by the DSI of bypassing the Interior Ministry in awarding the 190-billion-baht contract to BTSC to operate extensions of the skytrain.
The DSI said its 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, the DSI said.
The others who will be charged are deputy governor Teerachon Manomaiphibul, city clerk Charoenrat Chutikan, deputy city clerk Ninnat Chalittanont, the City Hall's Department of Traffic and Transport director Thana Wichaisarn, Krungthep Thanakhom's Prapanpong Vejjajiva, Krungthep Thanakhom's Amorn Kijchawengkul, BTSC's Keeree Kanjanapas, BTSC's Surapong Laoha-anya, Krungthep Thanakhom Co, and the BTSC Co.
MR Sukhumbhand insisted the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration had studied the legal aspects of the case before it proceeded with the contract.
"And it is not a concession granted to the operator. The BMA has agreed to hire the BTSC to operate [the extensions]," he said.
"The BMA's authority to proceed is recognised by the law including the BMA Act of 1985."
MR Sukhumbhand and the others are scheduled to report to the DSI to acknowledge the charges next Wednesday.
DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said yesterday the department has detected irregularities in the contract.
The DSI started the investigation after the ruling Pheu Thai Party filed a complaint that the 30-year contract was unlawful.
Mr Tarit said the DSI will send a letter to Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan asking to him to revoke the contract or order the governor to cancel it.
Tarit Pengdith, chief of the Department of Special Investigation, holds up a letter from public prosecutors as he explains the DSI’s decision. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD
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Writer: Supoj Wancharoen & King-Oua Laohong