Tarit targets Suthep over police station contracts

Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdit on Monday suggested Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban may have tampered with the bidding to build 396 new police stations, most of which have still not been built, at huge cost to the state.

PCC Development and Construction Co (PCC) won the bidding to build 396 new police stations across the country for the Royal Thai Police at a cost of 6.67 billion baht budget during the Democrat-led Abhisit government.

The Royal Thai Police Office finally entered into a contract with PCC on March 25, 2011, and 877 million baht in advance payments had been made to the company.

The Yingluck Shinawatra cabinet had subsequently extended the contract three times due to problems arising during the construction period, such as the 2011 flood crisis and delays in the delivery of supplies to PCC to enable constuction.

However, the company had still barely made any progress. The project was still only 5% complete and the latest contract deadline is to expire on March 14 this year, he said. 

This meant police  waiting for their new office to be completed have had to rent space from a private landlord and  set up a temporary police station, and pay  a monthly rent for almost two years.

Prompong Nopparit, left, and Tarit Pengdith (Mcot photo)

The DSI acted on a request by Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit, who asked the agency to look into alleged irregularities in the project’s contract. 

Last week, the DSI suggested the RTP terminate the contract with PCC, saying an investigation had found the company violated the contract by subcontracting other suppliers to handle the construction. The agency said the suppliers had abondoned the work for 11 months so far because they had yet to receive money from PCC.  

Mr Tarit said recent information obtained by the Royal Thai Police indicated that Mr Suthep may have intervened in the bidding process to facilitate PCC winning the contract. This had caused damage to the state. 

He said the Royal Thai Police Office originally ordered provincial police in each region to separately call bids for the job themselves.

Later, Mr Suthep in his capacity as deputy premier in the Democrat-led administration, changed the bidding method by authorising that tenders be called only through the RTP, and under the condition that the private company that wins the bidding would not be allowed to subcontract out any of the construction work.

The DSI will hold a press conference and provide further details on Wednesday, and is considering tcalling Mr Suthep in for questioning, Mr Tarit said.

Related search: DSI, Suthep Thaugsuban, police station contracts

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Writer: Sunthon Pongpao
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