Anupong counters speed guns deal flak

Anupong counters speed guns deal flak

Gen Anupong Paojinda says he cannot be expected to account for the purchase of expensive laser speed detector just because he signed off on the purchase. (Bangkok Post photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
Gen Anupong Paojinda says he cannot be expected to account for the purchase of expensive laser speed detector just because he signed off on the purchase. (Bangkok Post photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda yesterday played down public criticism of the controversial 573 million baht procurement of 849 hand-held speed detectors.

The Department Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), an agency under his ministry, did not draft the terms of reference (ToR) for the purchase plan, he said, adding the price of the latest batch of speed guns was lower than previous procurements of similar devices.

Gen Anupong made his comment after Veera Somkwamkid, a political activist, highlighted a rumour that the cabinet on Oct 10 approved a budget of 957.6 million baht for the procurement of 1,064 hand-]held speed guns, each worth around 900,000 baht.

These figures are at odds with previous reports concerning the purchase of 849 hand-held speed guns for 573 million baht, approved in principle by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Sept 11.

Gen Anupong refused to elaborate on the details and said his duty was only to table the issue at the cabinet meeting.

"I have no idea how many speed detectors the government approved for the procurement because it's beyond my authority. You have to ask the DDPM," he said. The DDPM would explain details to the media in due course.

Mr Veera yesterday reiterated that details about the number of devices and the budget for their purchase remain inconsistent and uncertain.

"The government and Gen Anupong must answer public doubts over the details, such as the model, price and manufacturer," said Mr Veera, a corruption-busting activist.

Permanent secretary for interior Chatchai Promlert, who was DDPM chief during the time when the proposal was submitted to the cabinet, yesterday said the department would examine the market price for a similar quantity of speed guns from various other manufacturers and suppliers.

Mr Chatchai said the latest procurement was not only for the Royal Thai Police, but also other state agencies, including the Department of Local Administration.

He also insisted the procurement process has not yet begun and the department had not officially received a budget yet.

Also yesterday, newly-appointed DDPM chief Chayapol Thitisak lent weight to Mr Chatchai's comment when he said the budget was only approved by the cabinet on Oct 10. He added his department was asked to supervise the procurement in compliance with state regulations.

The DDPM is in the process of setting up a committee to draft the ToR for the purchase of the devices.

Various agencies will be invited to join the committee.

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