Shady street lamp deal probed

Shady street lamp deal probed

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has launched an investigation into alleged irregularities involving lamp post procurements by several local officials in Samut Prakan.

Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, NACC deputy secretary-general and spokesman, said the anti-graft body met on Thursday to look at the findings into allegations that some executives of the Racha Thewa tambon administration organisation (TAO) in Samut Prakan were involved in irregularities in the procurement of solar-powered street lamps topped with mythical kinnaree figures.

It was found that the TAO launched projects to procure street lamps in fiscal years 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

However, the procurement procedures did not follow the Interior Ministry's regulations governing local administration budgets, Mr Niwatchai said.

Moreover, the procurement projects also favoured certain companies and the construction was not in line with the required standards, he added.

In light of this, the NACC decided to set up five inquiry panels to look into the case with each panel to handle the projects undertaken in each fiscal year, Mr Niwatchai said, adding that they have 180 days to wrap up their respective probes.

There are more than 20 suspects implicated in the case, including a former Samut Prakan governor, the chief of the Racha Thewa TAO, some local officials and a private company.

The NACC also instructed its provincial branches to look into complaints against similar street lamp procurement projects in other provinces, Mr Niwatchai said.

The Isra news agency and the "Must Share'' Facebook page previously exposed the alleged irregularities in the purchases.

According to the Facebook page, which campaigns against corruption, between 2019 and 2021 the Racha Thewa TAO overspent on seven contracts for 6,773 poles at an average price of 94,884 baht each, for a total cost of about 642.65 million baht.

Only one company was involved in the contracts, it has been alleged.

Do you like the content of this article?

'I feel safe'

A Myanmar beauty queen, who had spoken out against military rule in her country and became stranded at Suvarnabhumi airport, said she was relieved but remained defiant after landing in Toronto.


Pupils in dope clip get reprimand

The government has reaffirmed it is illegal for students to smoke cannabis in schools and for vendors to sell cannabis to people aged under 20 years old, deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said on Wednesday.


Investors seek clarity on cannabis status

Investors in cannabis businesses are calling on the government to clarify its support as well as laws related to cannabis usage, fearing the fledgling industry may be affected by the House of Representatives' withdrawal of the Cannabis and Hemp Bill from its agenda earlier this month.