NACC gets pictures of bribe suspects

NACC gets pictures of bribe suspects

The anti-graft agency has obtained pictures of four or five local officials taken by a Japanese company that alleged they demanded a bribe from the firm, which delivered equipment by sea to build a gas-fired power plant in Nakhon Sri Thammarat five years ago.

Surasak Keereevichien, a member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), said Sunday a marine department official, a local politician, a village headman and a marine police officer are among the parties accused of demanding the bribe.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd (MHPS), which transported the equipment, took photos of the officials who received the bribe handed by the company's staff, and these photos had been obtained by the NACC, he said. The bribe was said to be 20 million baht.

The investigation is under way to determine whether high-ranking officials were involved in the offence, Mr Surasak said, adding the case will have no impact on the construction of the power plant located in Khanom district.

He said the company used a large boat to deliver the equipment to a port supervised by the Marine Department.

As the vessel operator was accused of carrying heavier loads of the items than permitted, the company said it was forced to pay a bribe, Mr Surasak said.

The case reached the Japanese anti-graft agency, which asked the NACC to look into the matter believed to involve the Thai officials, he said.

The alleged graft came to light after Japanese media reported that prosecutors in Japan had reached a plea deal with a major power equipment supplier accused of bribing public servants in Thailand. The agreement with the Yokohama-based MHPS was the first of its kind since the plea deal was introduced in June.

MHPS was awarded a 30-billion-baht contract by the government in February 2013 to supply the machinery to the 5,300-megawatt gas-fired power plant.

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