More than 200 police in Phuket have been left without proper accommodation after a contractor abandoned the construction of officer apartment blocks, the island's police chief says.
The building of the apartments was contracted to PCC Development and Construction Co (PCC).
The company was also awarded a contract by the Royal Thai Police Office to build 396 police stations nationwide but failed to complete them by the June 17 deadline last year.
PCC now faces a Department of Special Investigation (DSI) probe for alleged irregularities in the contract bidding process.
Pol Maj Gen Chot Chawalwiwat, commander of Phuket police, explained the situation to DSI chief Tarit Pengdith and Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit yesterday. The pair were visiting the southern province to inspect unfinished officer accommodation amid reports that 163 police apartment blocks contracted to PCC nationwide were not completed.
Pol Maj Gen Chot said apartment blocks at Kathu, Thalang and Thung Thong police stations had been left unfinished after PCC downed tools and left the sites.
Officers from those stations were now being forced to fork out for expensive rental houses instead of staying in the subsidised apartments, he said.
More than 200 officers have been left without access to proper accommodation, Pol Maj Gen Chot said.
Two new police stations in Karon and Wichit have also been left unfinished by PCC, he added.
Mr Tarit said PCC had secured the entire contract to build all new police accommodations and police stations nationwide.
"The deal for only one firm to manage the construction [of police facilities] nationwide raises concerns about collusion [in the bidding process]," Mr Tarit said. "A full investigation must be launched."
The DSI chief echoed the concerns of Pol Maj Gen Chot, saying it was not fair that police officers were missing out on access to subsidised accommodation. The cost of living in Phuket is higher than in most parts of the country, he added.
Mr Tarit vowed to proceed with the case as fast as possible by working with the House anti-corruption panel.
Mr Prompong said it was unlikely that PCC would be capable of managing almost 10 billion baht worth of construction projects. The company has a registered capital of just 500 million baht.
The budget for new police facilities was allocated under the former Abhisit government's Thai Khem Khaeng economic stimulus scheme.
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Writer: Achadtaya Chuenniran and King-Oua Laohong