POLICE STATION SAGA
The chairman of the contracting firm embroiled in the police stations construction scandal yesterday blamed the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) for his company's failure to complete its work.
It was the first time that Piboon Udonsithikul, chairman of PCC Development and Construction (PCC), had addressed the media over his company's role in the scandal.
He said construction fell behind schedule because the RTPO had failed to hand land over on time.
The police office was required to make the land available to construction crews within 160 days, but failed to do so, he said. In some areas it took up to 600 days, Mr Piboon said.
The firm is now the subject of a Department of Special Investigation (DSI) probe into possible price collusion in the contract bidding process.
Mr Piboon said he would visit the DSI with documents backing his claims.
He said he had no political connections, and he did not personally know former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva or former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban. Mr Piboon also denied rumours that he is the father-in-law of a well-known politician.
PCC has never been involved in any price collusion in contract bids and had not abandoned the work, he said.
The Chiang Mai-based company won the tender at an auction to build 396 new police station buildings for 5.8 billion baht, and 163 residential flats for police for an additional 3.7 billion baht.
The DSI is investigating who approved the decision to award the contract to build all the stations solely to PCC, rather than to several contractors as had been planned earlier.
Construction of the police stations was due to be finished by June 18 last year, but PCC failed to complete the contract on time and won three extensions from the current government.
Under the third extension, PCC was due to complete all construction by March 14.
Instead, the construction sites remain unattended and buildings incomplete. Work on some sites has not even begun.
The contracts were signed in 2009 when Mr Suthep was assigned by then-prime minister Abhisit to oversee the police.
The RTPO plans to sue PCC once the contract expires and the DSI plans to forward its case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) next week, recommending action against officials involved in the project.
Rak Thailand Party leader Chuvit Kamolvisit yesterday petitioned the NACC, accusing national police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew and other police of neglecting their duty in the scandal.
The petition, addressed to NACC chairman Panthep Klanarongran, was accepted for consideration.
Mr Chuvit said the national police chief had the right to scrap the contract if he had sufficient reason to believe PCC would not be able to meet the deadline. He had failed to do so, which damaged the state, Mr Chuvit said.
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Writer: Cheewin Sattha & Aekarach Sattaburuth