The Royal Thai Navy is investigating a claim about irregularities in the purchase of armoured vehicles (AVs) worth more than 440 million baht.
Navy spokesman Adm Pokkrong Monthatphalin said on Friday that navy commander Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpaet had ordered a probe into a claim made by the CSI LA Facebook Page that some navy personnel demanded a 15% kickback from the supplier.
Adm Pokkrong said the navy has a project to procure seven 8x8 wheeled armoured personnel carriers worth 448 million baht, manufactured by Chaiseri Metal & Rubber Co.
The project will be financed by funds from the 2023 fiscal year starting from Oct 1 last year until Sept 30 this year. The manufacturer will have to deliver the armoured vehicles to the navy within 270 days.
Approval for the purchase is being sought from the Defence Ministry, Adm Pokkrong said, adding the project has been scrutinised by several agencies, such as the Anti-Corruption Cooperation Committee for state procurement, as well as a panel of observers.
"The navy has tried to ensure that budget spending is transparent and can be scrutinised. The claim about the 15% kickback is not true," the navy spokesman said.
Nopparat Kulhiran, the founder of the company, dismissed the claim as baseless, saying it was intended to discredit the company and the navy.
The administrator of the page should disclose the source of the information to prove the veracity of the claim, Ms Nopparat said, adding the company operates its business based on the principle of good governance and transparency.
The company has manufactured and delivered products for use in government defence and security as well as providing maintenance services since 1968, she said, adding that most of its income comes from exports rather than domestic sales.
"The company had sold its products to the Thai military for about 50 years, and our company is also well-known worldwide," she said.
Ms Nopparat threatened legal action against the CSI LA Facebook Page and any media outlets that shared false information.
"The media has been urged to examine the information first before sharing it. If there is any damage done, the company will reserve its rights to take legal action to protect its reputation," Ms Nopparat said.