B500m tech college PR budget 'corrupt'
- Published: 17/07/2013 at 06:32 PM
- Online news:
The House sub-committee on corruption prevention and suppression on Wednesday said it had found irregularities in the spending of a 500 million baht PR budget to improve the image of vocational schools plagued by student brawling.
The committee members met to continue their inquiry into the alleged irregularities in a scheme initiated in early 2011 during the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration.
Three contractors hired under the scheme were asked to send representatives to testify before the sub-committee, but only those from Blue Fairy Co showed up, Prompong Nopparit, the committee chairman, said at the meeting.
The budget was approved to support a proposal by the Office of the Vocational Education Commission and was mostly spent on public relation campaigns and activities.
The commission allocated the money to technical colleges nationwide, even though most of them had not asked for it, he said.
Misconduct and corruption was likely in the bidding process for the work and in the authorities’ handling of the hiring of private companies.
For example, the Thai-Austrian Technical College in Chon Buri, which received 20 million baht in the budget, called for bids for its PR campaign from private sector on March 1, 2011. Blue Fairly submitted its proposal that same day, said Mr Prompong, who is also Pheu Thai Party spokesman.
The panel later found the bidding was announced before the college set up a procurement committee to review proposals and select a contractor.
Blue Fairy staff claimed they did not know but had failed to explain why the buying committee was formed only after they had submitted their bid proposals, he added.
An unusually high spending level was also found in the making of radio advertising spots for hundreds of colleges.
A total of 215 30-second ad spots had been produced under the scheme. Each spot cost taxpayers 60,000 baht to produce, and almost all of them were broadcast after midnight. The prices set for the hiring of the private contractors were far above the market price, Mr Prompong said.
He believed high ranking civil servants and politicians were involved in this dubious spending.
“The irregularities are clear. It seems that when the commission submitted their budgets to various colleges, some private companies would immediately follow the money trail and get the job even before the setting up of buying committees.
"This was to benefit certain private companies,” the committee chairman said.
The sub-committee's finding would be forwarded to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission and Royal Thai Police Office for further proceedings, Mr Prompong said.
Related search: technical colleges, PR campaign, budget spending, House sub-committee on corruption, Prompong Nopparit. Office of the Vocational Education Commission, Blue Fairy Co, vocational schools
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- Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth