Udomdej: No irregularities in Rajabhakti Park project

Udomdej: No irregularities in Rajabhakti Park project

Statues of seven former kings stand out against the evening sky during the final stages of the construction of Rajabhakti Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin  district, on Aug 9, 2015 (Bangkok Post file photo)
Statues of seven former kings stand out against the evening sky during the final stages of the construction of Rajabhakti Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district, on Aug 9, 2015 (Bangkok Post file photo)

Deputy Defence Minister Udomdej Sitabutr has moved to allay public concerns over alleged irregularities in the construction of Rajabhakti Park and its giant statues of former kings, insisting everything was transparent and accountable.

Gen Udomdej, who chaired the Rajabhakti Park Foundation when he was still army chief, said the park in Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan province had been developed with the sincere intention of making it national property.

The 1-billion-baht park was funded by donations and overseen by a committee chaired by the army commander. The finance was handled by the army's financial department, which was ready to show details of the spending with clear evidence.

Gen Udomdej admitted that during construction of the project some people demanded kickbacks from some owners of factories that cast the statues of the past kings for the park. After this was uncovered, the money was returned to the factory owners, who agreed to donate it to the project, he said.

Asked about Col Khachachart Boondee, commander of the 1st Artillery Regiment, who has been charged with lese majeste and abusing his authority for personal gain in two criminal cases, Gen Udomdej declined to comment, saying the matter was now being investigated by police.

Col Khachachart was reported to have fled to Myanmar.

Earlier today, Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, the deputy prime minister and defence minister, when asked to comment on the alleged irregularities in the Rajabhakti Park project, said Gen Udomdej was ready to give a clear explanation.

Gen Prawit, too, declined to comment about Col Khachachart, other than say his alleged offences were a personal matter and nothing to do with the Rajabhakti Park Foundation.


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