Officials involve in disaster budget corruption in Bung Kan
- Published: 7/08/2013 at 05:19 PM
- Online news:
An investigation into the purchase of rubber tree insecticide to control a plant disease in Bung Kan province has found there was no report of the disease in the province at the time, according to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).
A planter taps rubber latex from a rubber tree in Pattani. Rubber plantations are popular in Thailand's northeast due to lucrative returns.
The DSI found that eight districts in Bung Kan province reported a disease outbreak among rubber trees during Sept 21-30, 2012. An announcement was issued to declare the areas disaster impacted zones. As a result, the province was able to seek emergency funds to buy insecticide to help planters.
However, DSI deputy director-general Pol Lt Col Wannapong Khacharak said the report was groundless as the Nong Khai Rubber Research Centre, which is responsible for the research and development of rubber plants in 20 provinces in the Northeast, including Bung Kan, did not receive any report about a disease outbreak.
The DSI regarded the issuing of the announcement as illegal because there was no disaster caused by rubber disease.
"The disaster impact zone announcement was one step in the corruption process - it had to be carried out on a large scale by high level officials in the province and all districts as well as the private sector, causing damage to the government of 48 million baht," said Pol Lt Col Wannapong.
The eight districts are Muang, Bung Khla, Bung Khong Long, Pak Khat, Phon Charoen, Seka, Si Wilai and So Phisai. Two private companies were identified as being involved - Rub Sup Rung Rueng Limited Partnership and Nam Sup Charoen Limited Partnership, which sell insecticides.
The investigation into the purchasing also uncovered evidence of irregularities as the procurement did not follow regulations set by the Finance Ministry. The purchasing committee had set a median price for the insecticide benomyl at four times higher than the market price.
The DSI found that the market price for 500g of insecticide containing benomyl 50% was between 400 and 600 baht, but the committee set a median price of 1,920 baht. The purchase of 25,371 boxes of the insecticide cost the government more than 48 million baht.
A random inspection of the quality of the insecticide distributed to planters showed that the product did not contain benomyl 50% at all, so the product was considered fake.
The case will be forwarded to the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
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