OAG to probe submarine purchase

OAG to probe submarine purchase

As activist Srisuwan Janya (above) demands an investigation, the Office of the Auditor-General vows to put every part of the sub purchase under a microscope.
As activist Srisuwan Janya (above) demands an investigation, the Office of the Auditor-General vows to put every part of the sub purchase under a microscope.

The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) is set to delve into the navy's submarine purchase though any information discovered that is regarded as security-sensitive will not be disclosed.

Auditor-General Pisit Leelavachiropas made the remarks Thursday after political activist Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, petitioned the OAG asking it to check the transparency of the submarine procurement programme.

Mr Pisit said Thursday the OAG is ready to check the submarine purchase as requested.

The OAG examines the spending of state budgets, and had previously made observations regarding armed forces' arms procurement projects, he said. Mr Pisit said the OAG is looking into the need to seek a budget for the submarine purchase, and will study the potential impacts stemming from the purchase.

If there are any concerns about the purchase, the OAG will write to inform the agencies concerned, Mr Pisit said. The OAG will disclose information regarding the submarine purchase where necessary, but it will not divulge any secret and security-sensitive information.

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra posted a message on her Facebook page Thursday, saying she disagreed with the government's submarine purchase procurement as the country is still dealing with economic problems.

Mr Srisuwan said he wanted the OAG to probe the submarine purchase to make sure it will not end up like the army's trouble-plagued airship and GT200 bogus bomb detectors.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said if future governments think the submarine is not necessary, they can revoke the cabinet resolution. The navy's procurement of the 13.5-billion-baht Yuan-class S26T submarine from China was approved in secret at a cabinet meeting on April 18, with the navy to pay for the submarine from its own coffers. News of the approval was only made public on Monday after the media delved into the matter.

In the entire procurement plan, the navy will pay for three Yuan-class subs costing a total of 36 billion baht in instalments over 11 years.

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