B700m graft found with exercise gear

B700m graft found with exercise gear

The Department of Special Investigation has uncovered alleged corruption in the B700m purchase of recreational and exercise equipment for six provinces. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
The Department of Special Investigation has uncovered alleged corruption in the B700m purchase of recreational and exercise equipment for six provinces. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

The Department of Special Investigation claims high-ranking officials of the Department of Tourism had bought over-priced outdoor-exercise equipment from a favoured supplier and had failed to use the B700 million worth of products properly.

DSI deputy director-general Pong-in Inkhao said on Wednesday irregularities were found in a contract sealed for the procurement of 77 sets of recreational and exercise equipment worth altogether 714 million baht from 2012 to 2014.

The equipment was delivered to Kamphaeng Phet, Krabi, Lampang, Nakhon Sawan, Phetchabun and Trang provinces.

The Department of Tourism was authoritised to buy the equipment to promote tourism in the provinces. It sealed the contract with United Sport Development Co in Pathum Thani province.

The DSI together with the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission found that the supplier had imported the equipment from South Korea and later sold it to the Department of Tourism at prices four to five times higher, Pol Lt Col Pong-in said.

The Department of Tourism had also set an unreasonably high median price to buy the equipment, determined the specifications of the equipment to favour the supplier and barred locally made equipment, and allowed previously uninvited parties to pretend to compete with the favoured supplier in a bidding contest.

Before buying the equipment, the Department of Tourism had also failed to study the needs of local communities. It did not use the equipment to develop community-based tourist attractions into recreational and health promotion tourist attractions because the equipment was installed at schools, hospitals, public parks, sub-district administration organisations, municipal offices and community learning centres, Pol Lt Col Pong-in said.

Officials of the Department of Tourism from the level of division heads and higher and those involved with the procurement will be accused of dereliction of duty and bidding collusion and the DSI will send the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission for further legal action.

The DSI has also asked the Revenue Department to check the tax payment records of United Sport Development Co, Pol Lt Col Pong-in said.


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