PCC lays the blame on police

The chairman of PCC Development and Construction (PCC) broke his silence on Thursday, blaming the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) for his company's controversial failure to complete the construction of hundreds of police buildings nationwide.

Piboon Udonsithikul, the PCC chairman, said in Chiang Mai that construction fell behind schedule because the RTPO failed to hand over the land on time, as promised in the contract.

The police office was required to make the land available to the builders within 160 days, but failed to do so. In some areas it took up to 600 days, Mr Paiboon said at a press conference on Thursday.

The unfinished Thanyaburi police station (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

Mr Piboon was making his first public explanation since the firm was targeted by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) for possible price collusion with politicians.

He said he would soon go to see the DSI with documents showing that construction had not been completed on time because the RTPO was too slow in handing over the land for the buildings.

He said he had sufficient evidence to show he had no connection with any politicians, and that he did not personally know former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva or former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban.

Mr Piboon also denied he was the father-in-law of a well-known politician, as had been rumoured.

PCC had never been involved in any bidding price collusion and had not abandoned the construction of the police stations as alleged, he added.

The Chiang Mai-based company won the tender at auction to build 396 new police station buildings for 5.8 billion baht and 163 residential flats for police for another 3.7 billion baht.

Construction of the police stations was initially to be finished by June 18 last year, but PCC failed to complete the contract on time and won three extensions from the present government.

Under the third extension, PCC was to complete all construction by March 14. Instead, the construction sites remain unattended and buildings incomplete or not begun.

The contracts were signed in 2009 when Mr Suthep was assigned by Mr Abhisit, the prime minister at the time, to oversee police.

The RTPO plans to sue PCC once the contract expires and the DSI plans to forward the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) next week, recommending action against officials involved in the two projects.

The DSI has excluded national police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew and his predecessor, Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong, from involvement in the case.

Chuvit Kamolvisit (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

However, Rak Thailand Party leader Chuvit Kamolvisit on Thursday petitioned the NACC, accusing Pol Gen Adul and other police officers of neglect of duty over the unfinished construction, saying it caused severe damage to the state.

The petition, addressed to NACC chairman Panthep Klanarongran, was accepted for consideration.

Mr Chuvit said the national police chief had the right to terminate the contract if he had sufficient reason to believe that PCC would not be able to meet the deadline. The police chief, however, failed to do this, causing severe damage to the state.

On comments by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung and Pol Gen Adul that the RTPO could terminate the contract after it expires on March 14, file a civil suit demanding compensation from PCC and look for new contractors to build the police stations under separate contracts by region, Mr Chuvit said this would cause more damage.

All police officers responsible for executing the contract must be held responsible for gross negligence and be subject to both criminal and disciplinary action, he said.

Mr Chuvit said those police officers included Pol Gen Adul, Pol Gen Priewpan, Pol Lt Gen Suporn Phansua, commissioner of the Police Logistics Bureau, and inspectors of the contract and the construction.

Related search: Chuvit, PCC, Pol Gen Adul, police stations, NACC, PCC Development and Construction

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Writer: Cheewin Sattha and Aekarach Sattaburuth