Chakthip in hot water over smart cars

Chakthip in hot water over smart cars

The National-Anti Corruption Commission (NACC) has found former national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda guilty of procurement irregularities in relation to the acquisition of 260 smart patrol cars worth more than 900 million baht.

Speaking after the NACC's major committee meeting on Tuesday, secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said a decision was reached to take legal action against Pol Gen Chakthip and 45 of his associates after finding grounds to Mr Niwatchai's allegation of irregularities in the project.

Chakthip: Set to face legal action

The move to procure smart patrol cars saw a contract inked with Genius Traffic System Co Ltd for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

The procurement included 230 electric vehicles, each equipped with high-technology tools such as a roof-top camera, a notebook or a notepad, a passport verification tool as well as equipment for police officers such as tasers and helmet cameras.

The NACC grew suspicious as to whether this complied with the Public Procurement and Supplies Management Act BE 2560 (2017), as well as Finance Ministry regulations about procuring and managing supplies. It also questioned whether the price of the smart patrol cars was too high, and if the process provided fair competition.

Mr Niwatchai said the 46 suspects consisted of four groups -- five police executives, seven officers who were on the committee that outlined the specifications for the project, three officers on a committee drafting a median price, and 31 people working in private companies. He said the NACC would allow the accused to defend themselves within 15 days.

A source said the NACC committee meeting in May last year agreed to form an inquiry panel comprised of nine members of the NACC led by commissioner Supa Piyajitti, as proposed by a sub-committee on screening complaints, which led to the accusations against Pol Gen Chakthip and his 45 associates.

Meanwhile, a source from the Royal Thai Police said the allegation was groundless, citing how the procurement was approved by the Office of the Auditor General of Thailand (OAG).

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