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Pattaya Daily News

12 November 2008 :: 01:11:04 am 40614

Former Pm, Bangkok Governor, 9 Others Guilty in Fire Truck Scandal

BANGKOK, Nov 11 - Thailand‘s National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) on Tuesday unanimously voted former Thai prime minister Samak Sundaravej, current governor of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) Apirak Kosayodhin and nine others were guilty of wrongdoing and violating the criminal code in the 2003 purchase of fire trucks and boats worth more than Bt6.8 billion.
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The NCCC voted 9 to 0 in finding Mr. Samak, Thailand’s most recent ex-premier, who was Bangkok governor at the time of the procurement contract signing, Mr. Apirak, who was his successor and took over the post of Bangkok governor on Sept 6, 2004, and nine others guilty and violated criminal law in irregularities in the purchase of fire trucks and boats from Austria?s Steyr Daimler Puch Co.

Mr. Apirak was re-elected Bangkok governor on October 5 for a second four-year term. The law mandates, if found guilty, a Bangkok governor must be suspended from his duties.

Among the others charged of wrongdoing by the NCCC were former interior minister Bhokin Polakul, his deputy Pracha Maleenont and ex-commerce minister Watana Muangsook. All the former ministers used to serve in the ousted government of prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The scandal emerged after the first batch of trucks was delivered. There were allegations that they were too costly as they were made in Thailand and then sent to Britain for equipment installation, while the contract was prepared in a rushed manner.

The now-defunct Assets Examination Committee (AEC) had charged that the purchase had caused the state to lose more than Bt1.9 billion. The AEC transferred the case to the NCCC on June 30, 2008 to take further action.

City governor Apirak said later he would first discuss with the opposition Democrat Party, of which he is a deputy leader, before deciding how to respond.

In accordance with the legal procedures, the NCCC would forward its Tuesday decision to the Office of the Attorney-General which will forward the case to the Supreme Court’s Criminal Court for Holders of Political Positions since many of the wrongdoers were former politicians, so that legal actions could be taken against them. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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