Navy says 'mansion' not just for chief
The navy is building a reception house on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, not a new residence for the navy chief, according to a source.
The explanation was made in response to criticism posted on a Facebook page called "Joh Luek Tua Thai Inside Thailand, Perd Kwam Lub" (Digging Deep In Thailand, Inside Thailand, Revealing Secrets) in which it questioned the transparency of the budget which had approved the construction of a "mansion" worth 112 million baht.
The page claimed the expense of the construction project was divided into three portions: the cost of building the structure, costs related to the building's architecture, and landscaping work.
The source said the building is being constructed on the site of a residence reserved for the navy's top commander.
The residence had been standing for 40 years and its foundations -- which were on soft soil on the river bank -- had become unstable; hence the construction work.
Several navy chiefs in the past had taken up residence at the house. However, the present commander, Adm Luechai Ruddit, prefers to stay in his family home in Samut Prakan, according to the source.
The navy chief decided to commission a new building on the site and he wants it to serve a wider purpose.
In addition to being an official residence, the new building will be used to receive the navy chief's foreign guests and other armed forces leaders.
In the past, the guests were usually accommodated in luxury hotels.
If they are provided lodging in the new building, it will help the navy save on hotel bills, the source said.
The building could also be booked for foreign government guest officials, the source added.