Pattaya Daily News

03 February 2013 :: 13:02:30 pm 71399

Phuket police housing scandal back in the spotlight

PHUKET: Tharit Pengdit, DSI Director together with MP Prompong Nopparit, Pheu Thai Party spokesman, visited Phuket today to reexamine the police housing scandal.
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The mega project of almost B10 billion is being looked at again after MP Prompong passed an official complaint with evidence to DSI yesterday (February 1).

In the meeting with Pol Maj Gen Choti Chavalviwat, Commander of Phuket Provincial Police, Mr Tharit said that they came here to survey the construction sites of the police accommodation that has reportedly been abandoned.

“The cause of the problem began when the Royal Thai Police agreed to hire only one contractor to build the police flats and new police stations for the whole country instead of choosing one contractor for each region,” Mr Tharit said.

“The main thing we heard today is the affect on the police – they do not have accommodation, especially in Phuket where the cost of living is very high.”

MP Prompong also said that he believes there has been high-level corruption since these project started.

“I think there was corruption since the beginning.

“Instead of carrying out auctions in every region in Thailand, there was only one contractor, PCC Development & Construction Co., selected to build 396 new police stations worth B5 billion plus 163 police flats costing B3 billion.

Big projects costing almost B10 billion, but only one contractor,” MP Prompong said for effect.

“I have sent this case to the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) to investigate for corruption on the way the budget went through. I believe there are individuals who profited greatly from these projects,” he said.

“We must prove this to show people that the Thai Kem Kaeng project [of the last cabinet] had many problems. All of its projects had their own problems.”

Maj Gen Choti added that price of rental accommodation in Phuket is so high it’s hard for low-level police or police who moved from other provinces with lower living costs to live in Phuket.

“In Phuket, there are approximately 1,200 policemen, around 200 of whom have still not been given proper accommodation. There are also two new police stations – Karon and Wichit – which aren’t even built. It is hard to work like this,” said Maj Gen Choti.

He said that the police construction project began in April 2010 with a budget of B68.1 million. The initial deadline for completion was June 24, 2011.

However – well behind schedule – the construction firm was given a 293 day extension, and then a subsequent 360 day extension.

Finally, Region 8 Police ordered a stop to construction on March 15, 2012.

After their meeting today, the group visited Phuket Police Station, Thungthong Police Station, Kathu Police Station and Thalang Police Station, later heading off the island to visit Krabi Police station in regards to the same issue.

After he was informed that former deputy PM and current MP Suthep Taugsuban was going to be reported by the DSI of bid collusion on the Thai Kem Kaeng project, former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva said in parliament on January 31 that MP Suthep has nothing to hide and is willing to answer all questions asked of him.

MP Abhisit also added that the project has been the responsibility of the current cabinet for more than one year already, but there has been no progress.

MP Chuwit Kamolvisit, Rak Prathet Thai (Love Thailand) Party leader, commented that both the opposition Democrats and the Yingluck administration are equally responsible for the issue, having launched and allowed it to continue, respectively.

MP Chuwit also said he has already sent a request to the Royal Thai Police to cancel the projects, but it has to wait for the Chief of Thai Police Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew’s consideration.

In the meantime he suggested the cabinet find a quick plan to help complete construction of the police accommodation and police stations, as when the project is likely canceled and the company is sued, this project will be as big a mess as Bangkok’s infamous Hopewell project – and take just as long to clear up.

View the original story on The Phuket News here.

Category : Thailand News

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