THE MARINE Department has transferred two officials for violating rules on unloading cargo at a temporary pier.
The transfer took place as the Marine Department investigates allegations that Thai officials had allowed a Japanese firm to unload its equipment in exchange for a bribe of about Bt20 million, which was reportedly paid in 2013.
“The probe has found one or two officials might have engaged in corruption, because ships using the pier is against normal standards,” Marine Department director-general Chirute Visalachitra said yesterday. “SWe need further evidence to substantiate the claim that they committed grave disciplinary offences.”
At this point, the probe has only found that ships using the temporary pier were bigger than regulations allowed.
According to Chirute, a temporary pier can accommodate a ship of up to 500 tonnes. But records show the temporary pier being investigated had allowed ships of about 800 tonnes to moor and unload equipment on about 20 occasions, despite protests from locals.
Sources have said a Japanese firm in charge of the Khanom power plant project in Nakhon Si Thammarat province had used this pier, which has subsequently been dismantled.
Chirute said his department would ask the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which is also investigating the bribery claim, to provide information on the case.
“If we get additional evidence, we will launch a disciplinary probe against implicated officials,” he said.
He added that if the officials were found guilty of taking bribes, they would be fired.
“But if they just allowed a ship bigger than legal limits, their penalty may only be a warning