Police station construction stalled amid corruption probe
Police stations nationwide were torn down with the intention that new stations would quickly be built, but construction has slowed to a crawl amid allegations of corruption.Provincial Police Region 3 chief Pol Lt-General Cherd Chuwet yesterday instructed all the torn-down police precincts still awaiting new buildings to find short-term solutions.
With many police-station projects at a standstill, the Pheu Thai Party has requested that the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) look into whether there was collusion in the contracts to build 163 police housing units worth Bt3 billion and 369 new police stations worth Bt5.848 billion.
DSI chief Tharit Pengdit yesterday said he and Pheu Thai spokesman Phrompong Nopparit will today visit Phuket and Krabi to inspect four incomplete precincts.
Cherd said his jurisdiction had 61 precincts under the project, 18 of which were demolished pending construction. His office was awaiting an official Royal Thai Police conclusion on the matter and supervisors' instruction about what to do in the meantime. Affirming that the police services were ongoing despite the inconvenience of having no facilities, he said he was certain the precincts would be completed soon.
Chard also commented about police housing units in Yasothon, which were left incomplete with two construction stages yet to be made. He said he has instructed provincial police to investigate the case.
In Angthong, where four police stations were demolished and left incomplete, Muang, Chaiyo and Ketchaiyo precincts managed to find temporary quarters, while Ram Masak precinct in Pho Thong district has for two years used a police housing unit as its office while detaining suspects at the neighbouring Pho Thong precinct. They urged the government to solve the problem quickly and get the precinct construction completed to keep officers' morale from falling any further.
Thanin Prempree, director of the DSI's corruption suppression centre, said he would ask the Royal Thai Police to submit all the contract documents for a detailed probe. Investigators would especially look at two projects being granted to the same contractor, PCC Development and Construction Co. Given that the two projects were in locations far from one another, it was unlikely that PCC could complete them in time, Thanin said.