Union acts to block B1.6bn payout

Union acts to block B1.6bn payout

MCOT protests role of its own chairman

The MCOT workers' union has filed a petition with three government bodies, urging them to investigate a request made by its president and board chairman to award half of the 3.23-billion-baht spectrum band recall compensation to a private company.

The petition was submitted to the State Enterprise Policy Office, the State Audit Office and the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

The workers' union called on the three organisations to launch a probe against MCOT president Kematat Paladesh and chairman Jatupol Panraksa for allegedly requesting half of the compensation be paid to the company without permission from the MCOT board.

The union's move came after the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) ruled on June 10 that MCOT be compensated the sizeable amount following the recall of the 2500-2690 MHz spectrum range.

The MCOT president allegedly sent a letter to the NBTC on June 4, claiming that the board chairman had given him the power to award half of the compensation to its contractor, Playwork Company Limited, and the NBTC agreed to comply with that request. The first instalment was due to be sent out next week.

Playwork signed a contract with MCOT in 2010 to use the 2600 MHz band in their subscription TV project. A year later, the NBTC was established, effectively scuppering the deal between PlayWork and MCOT.

Compensation must be based on how much the company had invested and worked in the project, said the MCOT workers' union.

It asserted that compensation from the NBTC must be sent to the state as MCOT is a state enterprise registered on the stock market.

Director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office Prapas Kong-Ied, who received the petition from the workers' union, said he would urgently look into the case.

Phimpha Waphakphet, deputy governor of the State Audit Office, said after meeting with representatives of the workers' union that this case differed from previous ones. They had related only to budget disbursements, while this one questioned the conduct of an executive.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha earlier this month ordered a probe into the MCOT president's bid to give half the 3.25-billion-baht compensation to Playwork.

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