Bangkok governor charged over city Skytrain contract
- Published: 9/01/2013 at 07:45 PM
- Online news:
Thai authorities charged outgoing Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra Wednesday with extending the multi-billion-dollar contract to run the city's elevated train network without government permission.
Bangkok's skytrain drives through the city on June 19, 2006. Thai authorities have charged outgoing Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra with extending the multi-billion-dollar contract to run the city's elevated train network without government permission.
Sukhumbhand, who has stood down from his post to campaign for re-election in March, failed to consult the Interior Ministry before renewing the contract of Skytrain operator BTSC last year, the Department of Special Investigation said.
"The DSI informed Sukhumbhand of the charge today," the DSI's Thawal Mangkang told reporters at its Bangkok headquarters.
He added that the contract extension to 2042 -- which was made 17 years before the deal was up for renewal -- was worth $6.6 billion.
Investigators have around a month to complete their work before deciding whether to forward a case to prosecutors.
If found guilty, Sukhumbhand could face a year in jail or a hefty fine while BTSC's contract extension would be rescinded, the DSI said.
Sukhumbhand, the candidate of the opposition Democrat party, denied the allegations, telling reporters that he "did not violate any laws" and was consulting lawyers over bringing a counter legal claim against the DSI.
Eight other Bangkok Metropolitan Administration officers -- including Sukhumbhand's deputy -- were also charged over the contract renewal, which boosted BTSC's existing deal from 2029 to 2042.
Established in 1999 the Skytrain system is a key commuter alternative to Bangkok's notoriously congested roads and runs on elevated tracks through the business heart of the city.
Sukhumbhand stepped down on Wednesday to concentrate on his re-election campaign.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency