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Construction Controversy

Suthep sues DSI chief for defamation

Claims police station, flat projects approved before Abhisit's time

Democrat Party member Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday lodged a defamation lawsuit against the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief in response to accusations that were levelled against him.

The latest accusation from DSI chief Tarit Pengdith suggests that Suthep, while serving as deputy prime minister, was involved in bidding collusion related to the construction of new police stations and police flats.

"Tarit has held several press conferences to mislead the public. He has spoken as if I, personally, issued a corrupt order to favour a certain company," Suthep said at Parliament yesterday.

He was speaking after he lodged a complaint against Tarit with the Criminal Court.

Suthep added that he had documents to prove that he was not involved in corruption, and also insisted that he did not know the owner of PCC Development and Construction Co, which won the e-auctions for both projects.

It looks like PCC Development and Construction will not be able to complete the projects within the deadline.

Yesterday, a subcontractor told the DSI that PCC Development and Construction had offered to complete the construction for a lot less than the actual cost, which made it impossible to complete the task.

According to Suthep, the two projects had won Cabinet approval during the Samak Sundaravej-led government, and when the Abhisit Vejjajiva government came to power, the National Police Office (NPO) offered a new proposal saying the project would require Bt11 billion less if construction guidelines were adjusted. Hence, he said, the Abhisit-led Cabinet approved the proposal.

"The NPO sent me three letters related to the project, each offering a different opinion. These letters came from different people, who rose to the top of NPO at different times," Suthep said.

He added that if Tarit had honest intentions, then he would not have held press conferences alongside Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit.

Suthep said the DSI chief should not allow himself to become a tool that the government can use to attack its political opponents.

"Attempts to drag Abhisit [now the Democrat Party leader] into this case clearly reflects that this case is politically motivated," Suthep said.

The veteran politician also challenged Tarit to proceed with the case against him. "Press charges against me and I will file another complaint against him on grounds of abuse of authority," Suthep said.

Meanwhile, Rak Thailand Party MP Chuwit Kamolvisit said yesterday that the DSI should not just summon Abhisit and Suthep for questioning.

"To be fair, the DSI should also summon me and Pol General Priewphan Damapong," Chuwit said.

Priewphan, a brother of Thaksin Shinawatra's ex-wife, was a former National Police chief. Chuwit was the person who exposed irregularities in the projects during a recent censure debate.

Chuwit also released the projects' terms of reference, which was prepared by a committee chaired by Pol General Pongsapat Pongcharoen, who is the ruling-Pheu Thai Party's candidate for the Bangkok governor election.


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