Police restart construction project after scandal
National police chief General Adul Saengsingkaew has called a meeting on Friday (February 15) to find solutions for the 396 police stations affected by the corruption-tainted rebuilding project. The original Bt5.84-billion contract was awarded to PCC Development and Construction Co in 2010 but later scrapped when work was abandoned at stations across the country. A cost estimate for the remaining construction work will be delivered by March 3 and new contractors hired, police spokesman Pol Maj-General Piya Uthayo said yesterday.
Deputy national police chief Worapong Chiewpreecha will lead a working team overseeing five tasks for the project:
1. Probes into contract violations, the police's transferring of plots for construction, the subcontracts, and documents related to delays and damages in the subsequently cancelled contract.
2. Setting up a process to find new contractors, whereby each police region co-ordinates with its provincial public works office to deliver a cost estimate for remaining work by March 3. (Police regions will be permitted to open the bidding to contractors without waiting for the original contract's March 14 deadline.)
3. Dealing with civil and criminal lawsuits stemming from the controversial contract. Pol General Jate Mongkolhatthee will take charge, advised by two lawyers from the Office of the Auditor-General.
4. Finding temporary solutions to allow the 82 totally demolished and 314 partially demolished precincts to operate - either by using unaffected space within precinct compounds, using nearby state office's space, or by renting privately owned property.
5. Hosting a three-month trial among precincts to find the best solutions for temporary police station space, case management and public service.
Piya also urged the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to carefully check information before summoning Adul as part of its probe, as he only became police chief on October 1, 2012, and hence wasn't involved in the contract's negotiations.
Adul himself said he and former national police chief Priewpan Damapong had only taken the top job after the contract was completed, and the contract's renewal was overseen by the Police Commissioner's Office of Logistics, under a Cabinet resolution. He said the DSI should make sure it had evidence before summoning him, but he would welcome the chance to give information. He said his agency was the injured party and was trying to solve the problem.
Meanwhile, DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said the investigation into the original contract had made significant progress thanks to more evidence from the police. DSI officials are interviewing subcontractors in the North over their complaints of fraud by project contractor PCC, while PCC representatives have been summoned to explain themselves to the DSI in two weeks' time.