Former top cops to discuss police-station construction contract with investigators
Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officials probing alleged bid collusion and fraud in a project to construct police stations and officer accommodation said they had invited three former police chiefs to give information about the merger of the two projects, which have faced lengthy delays.Pol General Patcharawat Wongsuwan will be the first to meet investigators, on February 11. Pol General Prateep Tanprasert will come in on February 13 and Pol General Wichean Potephosree on February 15, said the director of the DSI’s Corruption Suppression Centre, Thanin Prempree.
After interviewing these officials, the DSI would summon Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban, who served as deputy prime minister overseeing police at the time that the contract was awarded to PCC Development and Construction Co (PCC).
The DSI would ask PCC to explain 12 points relating to the contract details, subcontracting and the reasons behind the delay, among other issues, within 15 days, he said.
In the mean time, Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit met with Anti-Money Laundering Office deputy chief Saowanee Sawaengpol to probe financial transactions by PCC and persons related to the controversial project.
Describing as unconvincing PCC's claim that the delay in construction was caused by bureaucratic red tape, Deputy Police Chief Worapong Chiewpreecha yesterday said PCC breached its contract by subcontracting work to other firms without seeking police approval. He went on to say that the delays persisted even after the firm received an Bt870-million advance payment for the construction of police stations.
However, Worapong said the police flats were 80 per cent complete and should be finished by August, adding that this was acceptable.
Deputy Commerce Minister Natthawut Saikua yesterday said the police-station project was approved by Suthep, so he should explain himself to public. Suthep said yesterday that he wasn't worried about the DSI probe, adding that the case had become a topic of discussion for political reasons.
The project called for the construction of 396 police stations worth Bt5.84 billion and 163 police flats worth Bt3.7 billion.
PCC was originally scheduled to turn over the completed buildings on March 14.