DSI: govt should scrap BTS deal
Tarit to ask interior minister to cancel BMA contract allowing BTSC to operate Skytrain for further 13 yearsThe Department of Special Investigation will ask the interior minister to cancel the contract signed by the Bangkok governor for the extension of the Skytrain's operations without the minister's permission, the DSI chief said yesterday.
"Those who caused this problem will be held responsible for damages," Tarit Pengdit said.
Last May, Krungthep Thanakom Co, the investment arm of the Democrat-led Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), awarded Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC) a 13-year contract. As BTSC still had 17 years left on its old contract, it could now continue to run the Skytrain system until 2042.
Deputy Interior Minister Chatt Kuldiloke is allowed by law to order the BMA in writing to suspend the new contract, according to a DSI source.
If the BMA disagrees, it could appeal to the Administrative Court, the source added.
Tarit told a press conference that the DSI had sent a letter to nine BMA executives informing them that they had extended the Skytrain contract without due authority.
The nine include Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, Deputy Governor Teerachon Manomaipiboon, city clerk Charoenrat Chootikarn and deputy city clerk Ninnart Chalitanond.
Others include Praphanpong Vejjajiva, chairman of Krungthep Thanakom; a representative who signed the contract on behalf of Keeree Kanchanapas, chairman of BTS Group Holdings; and Amorn Kitchawengkul, managing director of Krungthep Thanakom.
The DSI would summon the nine BMA executives and representatives of BTSC and Krungthep Thanakom to hear the charge on January 9, Tarit added.
Deputy Democrat Party leader Apirak Kosayothin said the DSI's legal action against Sukhumbhand was not unexpected and the governor would defend himself.
BMA spokesman Wasant Meewong said the BMA would issue an official statement when the nine executives received the written charge from the DSI.
The BMA had strictly followed the law in inking the BTS contract, he said.
Sukhumbhand told a press conference that the BMA would ask the court to rule on whether the DSI had abused the Criminal Code in launching its probe.
Only the National Anti-Corruption Commission could carry out such an investigation, he said.
The city had considered the laws prudently before entering into the contract, which hired BTS to operate the system, so the BMA did not extend the concession as charged by the DSI, he said.
The Council of State had ruled several times that under the law the BMA could assign the BTS' operation to a private firm, he said.
Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan should carefully consider the issues before revoking the BTS contract as that would cause headaches for a lot of Bangkok commuters, he added.