Sukhumbhand to face new charges
Pheu Thai MP produces evidence to prove BMA launched mutual fund under fraudBangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra and ten city executives could face more charges in connection with the move to set up the BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure mutual fund. These charges are in addition to those already laid against them in connection with the contract for the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC) to operate the BTS Skytrain extensions for a total of 30 years.
Sukhumbhand and his deputy Teerachon Manomaipiboon reported to the Department of Investigation (DSI) yesterday and denied all charges in relation to accusations that they had extended the BTS contract without permission. The governor also quit his post yesterday - one day before his term ended. Sukhumbhand will run for another term.
Meanwhile, Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit submitted additional evidence, including CDs and print advertisements, to DSI chief Tarit Pengdith, requesting an investigation into the setting up of the mutual fund. He said that though the fund has yet to be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the fund was already being advertised in the media to persuade the public to invest.
He alleged that the mutual fund could be in violation of the law because the concession was extended in haste even though the BTSC still had 17 years left before the concession expired.
"This suggests that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration signed the contract just so the private sector could benefit from it, as the deal was used to set up a mutual fund. If the contract was not extended, the mutual fund could not be set up," he said.
Prompong added that executives from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the BTSC were facing charges because the contract was extended without permission from the interior minister, hence the contract could be revoked. Also publishing advertisements to get the public to invest in the mutual fund could be considered public fraud.
Lt-Colonel Wannapong Kacharak, who is chief of the Division of Financial and Banking Cases, said the BTS estimated that the mutual fund would earn up to Bt60 billion, which equals to estimated future income. The DSI has to evaluate how much the company would actually earn.
Tarit said some members of the group could be charged of breaching four Articles of the Securities and Exchange Act, such as company executives having vested interests, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and twice the cost of the damage incurred. Also directors or managers counter-signed accounts, which was not the correct procedure, he said, adding that others might face charges of conspiring or helping others to commit offences.
According to the deal, which was struck in May last year, Krungthep Thanakom, the investment arm of the Democrat-led BMA, awarded BTSC a 13-year extension on its concession, allowing it to operate the Skytrain until 2042.
As per the contract, BTS will oversee three Skytrain extensions: the 5.3-kilometre Taksin-Petchkasem part of the Silom line; 5.25km Sukhumvit 85-Sukhumvit 107 route; and Wongwian Yai-Talad Plu route.
Meanwhile, the BTSC issued a press release denying that the establishment of BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund had anything to do with the contract granting it the right to operate the Skytrain for 30 years.
Separately, Sudarat Keyuraphan, former executive of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party, said yesterday that she would neither run in the upcoming gubernatorial elections, nor will she accept any post in Yingluck Shinawatra's Cabinet.
"As of now, I don't want to be a minister because I want to focus on my Buddhism projects," she said.
Charges and possible charges against former Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand
Paribatra et al:
- Committing public fraud by advertising to get the public to invest in an infrastructure fund
- Violating four articles of the Securities and Exchange Act
- Company executives dishonestly seeking to further their vested interests
- Directors or managers countersigning accounts whose figures were in error
- Conspiring or supporting others to commit offences
- Extending the Skytrain concession without government permission