March 06, 2013 00:00
By Piyanut Tumnukasetchai
Police station case given to NACC; findings due soon on precincts
Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban violated laws in awarding contracts to build 396 police stations, the Department of Special Investigation said in its investigation report submitted yesterday.
Abhisit violated Article 157 of the Criminal Code covering officials who wrongfully exercise or do not exercise their functions, the DSI said.
Suthep is accusing of violating the same article, as well as Articles 11, 12 and 13 of the Bidding Price Collusion Act.
DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said the agency’s Corruption Protection and Suppression Centre director Thanin Prempree submitted the case report to the NACC for further action because it is beyond the DSI’s authority to handle cases against suspects holding political positions.
DSI investigators say Abhisit and Suthep violated Article 157 by allowing only one firm to be awarded the contract for the entire project instead of observing the Cabinet resolution of Somchai Wongsawat’s government that called for separate bids in each of the nine police regions.
The DSI viewed that former police chief Pol General Prateep Tanprasert’s proposal for centralised bidding was probably under instructions from the political sector, so the DSI did not file charges against him, Tarit said.
A police panel led by Pol General Jate Mongkolhatthee was probing the case of the 396 unfinished police stations and would report its findings soon, said national police chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew. Adul said he would consult on the case with the Office of the Auditor General.
Deputy police spokesman Thana Chuwong said 87 police stations were demolished while the other 309 stations remain.
In the demolished precincts, officers have been working out of makeshift and often scattered temporary quarters. The national police chief has ordered the heads of these precincts to consolidate each of their operations.
Pol General Worapong Chewpreecha has been assigned to set the timeframe for construction of new precincts in case the contracts with PCC Development and Construction Co Ltd were cancelled. Initially the large precincts were due to be completed in 390 days, 360 for medium-size precincts and 330 days for small stations.
In Buri Ram, six precincts received Bt1 million from the Royal Thai Police to improve their spaces to better serve the public. The demolished precincts got Bt300,000 each while the not-yet-demolished stations got Bt100,000.