Chuvit targets Chidchob clan
Whistleblower demands answers from Bhumjaithai
published : 4 Mar 2023 at 04:23
newspaper section: News
writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
Whistleblower Chuvit Kamolvisit has launched a broadside at Bhumjaithai Party ministers and the Chidchob family, including suspended Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, accusing them of being involved in a number of alleged irregularities.
Speaking to the media at the Davis Hotel, which he owns, on Sukhumvit Road's Soi 24 on Friday, Mr Chuvit alleged irregularities in the bidding for the Orange Line electric train project overseen by the Transport Ministry under Mr Saksayam of the coalition Bhumjaithai Party.
Mr Chuvit, a former massage parlour tycoon and politician, claimed Mr Saksayam used the employee of a construction company as a nominee to tender bids for contracts of the Department of Highways and the Department of Rural Roads.
Mr Chuvit claimed there was evidence showing the nominee received a salary of 9,000 baht from the company.
Mr Saksayam's alleged use of a nominee to hold shares in a construction company, Burijarearn Construction Limited Partnership, which was awarded contracts worth billions of baht by the Transport Ministry, was raised during a no-confidence debate last July.
He was accused of concealing his assets in the company and using an employee as a nominee to hold shares on his behalf.
According to the opposition, the company was established in 1996, with 80% of its shares held by the Chidchob family. Mr Saksayam quit being a shareholder when he entered politics in 1997.
Saksayam Chidchob speaks during a session of the House of Representatives. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
However, Mr Saksayam became a major shareholder in 2015 when he increased the company's registered capital to 120 million baht. The firm was awarded construction projects worth 440 million baht between 2015 and 2017.
Before the 2019 election, he transferred his shares worth 119.4 million baht to the nominee, according to the opposition.
The minister had rejected the allegations, saying a friend bought the company's shares and there was proof of the money transfer.
But Mr Chuvit on Friday claimed the company was awarded 82 contracts worth about 1.2 billion baht and said the nominee also donated more than 7 million baht to Bhumjaithai.
The outspoken former MP also raised an issue related to land plots covering 5,083 rai in Buri Ram's Muang district.
He said a legal dispute arose between the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and some 35 villagers who had been living on the plots. The SRT eventually won the case, and the villagers were evicted.
However, Mr Chuvit said he wondered why an international race circuit and the Chang Arena football stadium and houses that belong to the Chidchob family were allowed to remain on the plots.
Whistleblower Chuvit Kamolvisit washes his face on Feb 24, 2023, in front of the Ministry of Transport, where he went to hand over evidence about alleged irregularities in the bidding for the Orange Line electric train project to Saksayam Chidchob, who was not in his office. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
"This is [a case of] double standards as the SRT did not dare to evict the Chidchob family from the land," Mr Chuvit claimed.
Mr Chuvit further pointed to a construction company that occupies more than 700 rai of land in Saraburi's Muak Lek district. The area is suited for agricultural purposes, and some plots should be given over to the Agricultural Land Reform Office, he suggested.
"That company was also awarded the Orange Line contract, which is tainted with alleged irregularities," Mr Chuvit said.
In a Facebook livestream on Friday, former media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul accused Mr Chuvit of being paid by the Pheu Thai Party to attack Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul and the Chidchob family.
Mr Sondhi, former co-leader of the now-defunct People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), a yellow-shirt group, insisted he was not an ally of Bhumjaithai.
"Mr Chuvit may sometimes criticise Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, but I never see you speak out against [fugitive former prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra over allegations of corruption," Mr Sondhi said.