The Centre for National Anti-Corruption (CNAC) has wrapped up its investigation into 12 projects to build sports facilities in 11 provinces worth 288 million baht and will forward its findings to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
Prayong Preeyajit, secretary-general of the Public Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), in his capacity as chairman of the CNAC, said the CNAC has now completed its inspections of the construction sites and found several irregularities.
Starting in 2012, construction projects were launched in 11 provinces — Chaiyaphum, Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Phetchabun, Satun, Phichit, Sing Buri, Ayutthaya, Ang Thong, Uthai Thani and Prachin Buri — under “special procurement methods”.
The contract was signed by the Physical Education Department with one contractor, which proceeded to build a number of gymnasiums, football pitches, grandstands and multi-purpose grounds at a cost of 288 million baht.
But poor construction work quality caused local administrative bodies to refuse to sign their acceptance of the projects, Mr Prayong said.
According to the local administration organisations, no budget was set aside to maintain the defective sports facilities either.
But the central committee responsible for inspecting the facilities accepted the completed projects, and now the panel members are being probed, he added.
Meanwhile, committee members said they signed acceptance of the completed projects because an important figure had asked them to do so, a source on the CNAC investigation team said.
The probe also found the provinces where the projects were undertaken are political strongholds of a political party popular in the Central Plains.
The fact that only one contractor won the contract to build all 12 projects was partly to blame for the poor construction quality, Mr Prayong said.
The investigation also revealed that when the contractor asked to extend the construction period for one project, it was also given permission to do so for the other projects.
Construction of the 12 projects was carried out between 2012 and 2016, Mr Prayong said.
The CNAC is now waiting for written explanations from the agencies involved in the construction projects before it sends its findings to the NACC.
"Since these construction projects still are under a two-year warranty, the CNAC plans to ask the contractor to repair the substandard-quality sports facilities it constructed to make them ready for use," Mr Prayong said.