Udomdej: No irregularities in Rajabhakti Park project
Kickbacks were paid but returned to factories as donations, Gen Udomdej who oversaw building of giant king statues, claims.
Udomdej: No irregularities in Rajabhakti Park project
Deputy Defence Minister Udomdej Sitabutr has moved to allay public concerns over alleged irregularities in the construction of Rajabhakti Park and its giant statues of former kings, insisting everything was transparent and accountable.
Gen Udomdej, who chaired the Rajabhakti Park Foundation when he was still army chief, said the park in Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan province had been developed with the sincere intention of making it national property (read about park construction & view photos here).
READY TO BE AUDITED
The project was overseen by a committee chaired by the army commander. The finance was handled by the army's financial department, which was ready to show details of the spending with clear evidence.
Gen Udomdej admitted that during construction of the project some people demanded kickbacks from some owners of factories that cast the statues of the past kings for the park. After this was uncovered the money was returned to the factory owners in the form of donations, he said.
COLONEL CHARGED WITH LESE MAJESTE
Asked about Col Khachachart Boondee, commander of the 1st Artillery Regiment, who has been charged with lese majeste and abusing his authority for personal gain in two criminal cases, Gen Udomdej declined to comment, saying the matter was now being investigated by police.
Col Khachachart was reported to have fled to Myanmar.
A police source had previously indicated that "an investigation had found the army colonel implicated in the lese majeste case has fled over the border to Myanmar's Myawaddy township, opposite Tak's Mae Sot district. Before leaving the country, he withdrew 20 million baht from a bank and transferred the money to a woman in Chiang Mai" (see here).
Earlier today, Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, the deputy prime minister and defence minister, when asked to comment on the alleged irregularities in the Rajabhakti Park project, said Gen Udomdej was ready to give a clear explanation.
Gen Prawit, too, declined to comment about Col Khachachart, other than say his alleged offences were a personal matter and nothing to do with the Rajabhakti Park Foundation.
PREVIOUS PANEL FINDINGS
It was previously reported (here) that a panel probing alleged irregularities in the construction of the army's one-billion-baht Rajabhakti Park in Hua Hin found that aside from irregularities surrounding the making of the king statues, the purchase of palm trees at 100,000 baht each was also unusual.
The panel began its work after the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) found some links between a group of people, including an army major general (see here) and a colonel, and the alleged irregularities in the park project.
The CIB team investigating the Rajabhakti Park case have already questioned the owners of six casting factories that built statues for the park.
Around 20 million baht of kickbacks were allegedly paid through an amulet dealer and an army colonel who helped secure the deals for the factories.
The owners of one company that made the statues said that out of the agreed price of 43 million baht for casting the King Rama I statue for the park, the company paid 4.7 million baht in "commission" to the amulet businessman.
Another company told investigators that the same businessman requested a 10% commission in return for helping secure the contract to build the statue of King Ramkhamhaeng for the park.
This company won a contract to build the statue at a cost of 43 million baht, plus additional work involved in building a phan phum tray casting for 10.8 million baht.
The same colonel allegedly asked for an additional 300,000 baht for his help in securing the contract for the work.
Learn from listening
- abuse: to use something in a bad, dishonest, or harmful way (an abuser is a person who does this) - ใช้ในทางที่ผิด
- abuse of authority: the use of power in a bad, dishonest or unlawful way - การใช้อำนาจในทางที่ผิด
- accountable: responsible for something that has happened - ซึ่งรับผิดชอบ, สามารถอธิบายได้
- allay: to make some feel less of something, like worry, fear or doubt - ขจัดความสงสัย ขจัดความกังวล
- alleged: claimed to be true although not yet proven; claimed to have done something wrong but not yet proven - ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
- amulet: a small object that some people wear around their neck as a protection against evil, bad luck, disease etc - เครื่องราง
- artillery: large powerful guns that are used by an army and are moved on wheels or fixed in one place - ปืนใหญ่
- authority: power - อำนาจ
- case: a matter that is being officially investigated or heard by a court - คดี
- cast: to shape hot liquid metal, etc. by pouring it into a hollow container (called a mould) - หล่อ
- Central Investigation Bureau: a national police agency coordinating and assisting the work of provincial and city police components. - กองบัญชาการตำรวจสอบสวนกลาง
- chair: to be the person in charge of a meeting, committee, or company - ดำรงตำแหน่งประธาน, ทำหน้าที่ในฐานะประธาน
- charge: to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
- chief: a person with a high rank or the highest rank in a company or an organisation - หัวหน้า, ผู้นำ
- clear (adjective): easy to see and understand - ชัดเจน
- colonel: an officer of high rank in the army, the marines, or the air force - พันเอก
- commander: the head of an army or army unit - ผู้บังคับบัญชา
- comment (noun): expressing an opinion - การแสดงความคิดเห็น
- commission: an amount of money that is paid to somebody for selling goods and which increases with the amount of goods that are sold - ค่านายหน้า, ค่าคอมมิชชั่น
- committee: a group of people who are chosen, usually by a larger group, to make decisions or to deal with a particular subject - คณะกรรมการ
- concern: a worry - ความกังวล
- construction: the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง
- contract: an official written agreement - สัญญา
- contract: to make an official written agreement with someone to do something - ทำสัญญา
- criminal: relating to illegal acts - เกี่ยวกับอาชญากรรม
- dealer: a person or company that buys and sells a particular product - ผู้จำหน่าย
- decline (verb): to say politely that you will not accept something, do something, or say something - ปฏิเสธ, ปฏิเสธที่จะทำ
- Defence Minister: the person in the cabinet in charge of the Ministry of Defence which oversees the armed forces - รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงกลาโหม
- demand: a very firm request for something - ข้อเรียกร้อง, การเรียกร้อง
- deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง
- detail (noun): the small facts or features of something - รายละเอียด, ส่วนเล็กๆ น้อยๆ, ส่วนย่อย
- develop: to think of or produce a new idea, product, etc. and make it successful; to build new houses, factories, etc. on an area of land, especially land that was not being used effectively before - พัฒนา
- district (noun): an area of a country, town or province, especially one that has particular features - เขต, อำเภอ, บริเวณ, แขวง
- donation: money or goods that you give to an organisation, especially one that helps people - เงินหรือสิ่งของบริจาค
- evidence: facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime - หลักฐาน
- finance: to provide money for something - จัดหาเงินทุนให้
- financial: involving money - เกี่ยวกับเงิน, ทางการเงิน
- fled (past of flee): escaped; left an area very quickly because of a danger there - หนีไป
- former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
- foundation: an organisation that provides money for things such as medical research or for a charity - มูลนิธิ
- gain: a benefit, or an advantage - ผลประโยชน์
- handled by: to do some work in some area, process and complete some work -
- implicate: to show or suggest that someone is involved in something illegal or morally wrong - โยงใยถึง, เกี่ยวพันกับ
- indicate: to show that something is true, exists or will happen - แสดง, ทำให้รู้
- insisting: keeping saying very firmly that something is true, even when other people will not believe you - ยืนกราน
- intention: a plan in your mind to do something - ความตั้งใจ เจตนา แผนการ
- investigate: to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it - ตรวจสอบหาความจริง
- investigation: the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something - การสอบสวน
- investigator: someone whose job is to officially find out the facts about something - ผู้สอบสวน, ผู้สำรวจ, ผู้ตรวจสอบ
- involve (verb): to be an important or necessary part or result of something - เกี่ยวพัน, เกี่ยวข้อง, พัวพัน
- irregularity: a situation in which the rules, laws, or usual ways of doing things have not been followed - การปฏิบัติที่ไม่เป็นไปตามระเบียบปกติ
- kickback: an amount of money that is paid to someone illegally in exchange for secret help or work - เงินสินบน, เงินใต้โต๊ะ
- lese majeste: the crime of offending, threatening or showing disrespect for a member of the royal family - หมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ
- link: a connection - การเชื่อมต่อ
- matter: a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered - เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน
- national (adjective): for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
- opposite: across from or facing someone or something - ที่อยู่ตรงกันข้าม
- overseen: when people watched or organised a job or an activity to make certain that it was being done correctly - คุมงาน,ควบคุม
- owner (noun): the person who owns something, i.e., who has something that belongs to them - เจ้าของ
- panel: a group of people who make decisions or judgments - คณะกรรมการ
- park (noun): an area of public land in a town or a city where people go to walk, play and relax - สวนสาธารณะ, สถานที่พักผ่อนสาธารณะ
- personal: your own; not belonging to or connected with anyone else - เป็นส่วนตัว
- project: a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ
- property: things, especially valuable things, that are owned by someone - ทรัพย์สมบัติ, ทรัพย์สิน
- province: one of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด
- public: the public; all people; the people in general - มหาชน, ประชาชน
- purchase: to buy something - ซื้อ
- regiment: a large group of soldiers - กรมทหาร, กองทหาร
- request: an act of asking for something in a formal or polite way - การขอร้อง
- sincere (adj): (of a person, feelings or behaviour) not pretending or lying; honest - จริงใจ, ตรงไปตรงมา
- source: a place where information comes from; someone who gives information - แหล่ง
- statue: a human or animal image that is made of stone, wood, metal, etc. - รูปปั้น
- surrounding: to be closely connected with a situation or an event - เชื่อมต่อกัน เกี่ยวข้องกับ
- transfer: to officially arrange for someone else to be the owner of something - โอน
- transparent: not keeping anything secret; open - โปร่งใส
- uncover (verb): to discover something secret or hidden - ค้นพบ, ค้นพบข้อเท็จจริง
- unusual (adj): different from what is usual or normal - ผิดปกติ
- withdrew (noun): (past of 'withdraw') taken away or taken back, to no longer be involved in something - ถอน, ถอนตัว