Police to blame for construction delay: PCC
Speaking publicly for the first time since being engulfed in a corruption scandal over a nationwide police station and housing project, chief contractor PCC Development and Construction Co Ltd yesterday blamed construction delays on the Royal Thai Police (RTP) for their tardiness in handing over the sites.
At a press conference in Chiang Mai where the company is based, PCC chairman Phibool Udomsitthikul denied the allegations of corruption against his company, and dismissed speculation that it had ties with Democrat MP Suthep Thuagsuban and Bhum Jai Thai de-facto leader Newin Chidchob. Both politicians were influential figures in the previous Democrat-led administration, under which the construction contract was handed to PCC, in 2010.
Phibool said that in many cases, the hand-over of sites had been delayed by 600 days, while the average delay had been 100 days. He said the police were not entirely to blame in many cases, which had been complicated by civil planning regulations.
Phibool said PCC's image had been tarnished by allegations it had abandoned construction work, and was involved in bid-rigging and fraud. "We have two options now: to forge a compromise to extend the deadline so we can complete the project, or to deal with the legal action and, as the aggrieved party, recoup our reputation." He did not elaborate.
Countering an allegation that PCC had misappropriated Bt1.596 billion in advance funds for the Bt5.848-billion project, Phibool said Bt403 million was paid to subcontractors while another Bt455 million was in its bank accounts, with deductions of withholding tax and value added tax worth accounting for a further Bt19 million.
"The company acquired another Bt719 billion between 2001 and this year, through several payments for construction progress. These payments were approved by the RTP on proof of progress provided. So it was not possible for the company to cheat the police on this," he said.
Meanwhile, Rak Thailand Party leader Chuwit Kamolvisit has submitted a complaint to the National Anti-corruption Commission of negligence of duty against national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew, former chief Prewpan Damapong, RTP Logistics Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Suphorn Phansua, and several senior policemen responsible for the project.