Former PWO chief implicated in rice scam

Former PWO chief implicated in rice scam

Executive sacked over rubber-glove fraud accused of irregularities in 2013 pledging scheme

Pol Col Surapong Plengkham, acting deputy director of the Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO), files a complaint with a Crime Suppression Division officer against a former PWO chief and three officials over a contract for rice storage. (Photo supplied: Wassayos Ngamkham)
Pol Col Surapong Plengkham, acting deputy director of the Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO), files a complaint with a Crime Suppression Division officer against a former PWO chief and three officials over a contract for rice storage. (Photo supplied: Wassayos Ngamkham)

A former Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) chief who was sacked recently in connection with fraudulent rubber-glove procurement is being investigated for irregularities in a rice-pledging scheme in 2013.

The agency on Friday asked Crime Suppression Division (CSD) police to take action against Pol Col Roongroj Phutthiyawat and three other officials in connection with a contract for rice storage that allegedly resulted in 1.3 billion baht in losses to the state.

The four are accused of colluding with a private company that ended up holding 80,000 tonnes of rice under the government’s pledging programme eight years ago. As a result, the PWO was unable to sell rice to potential buyers, said Pol Col Surapong Plengkham, the current acting deputy director of the agency. 

PWO director Kriangsak Prateepvisut launched an internal investigation, which found that Pol Col Roongroj and his associates had signed a contract for rice storage with the company. The four had allegedly bypassed procedures to give the private firm an advantage over the state in holding rice.

The action caused damage to the PWO, which had to pay 196.8 million baht in rental fees to the firm. The agency was also unable to sell the rice in storage to buyers and this caused more than 1.3 billion baht in damage, said Pol Col Surapong.

Pol Col Roongroj became acting director of the PWO in 2018 but he was fired along with two others earlier this month for alleged corruption in the purchase of 112.5 billion baht worth of rubber gloves in 2020.

The PWO filed a complaint with the Department of Special Investigation in September last year, claiming Pol Col Roongroj had authorised the glove deal without going through proper channels


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