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Auditor General begins probe into Bt13.5 bn submarine deal

May 04. 2017
Auditor General Pisit Leelawachiropas
Auditor General Pisit Leelawachiropas
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By The Nation

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Auditor General Pisit Leelawachiropas and senior officials met Navy chiefs on Thursday to get details on the Chinese-made submarine deal. The office of the Attorney-General is investigating recent complaints made by anti-corruption activist Srisuwan Janya.

Pisit and five other officers from the Office of the Attorney-General met Navy Chief Admiral Na Areenij and Admiral Leuchai Ruddit, the Navy chief of staff, who is the chairman of the submarine acquisition committee.

Pisit said his office would send a special team to the Navy headquarters to check on documents which are presently classified as “confidential”. The probe would take around a week, he said.

The office would look into the necessity for the submarines, procurement procedures, the Navy’s study of choices, as well as its reason to pick the Chinese made submarines. The Terms of Reference would be looked into carefully, he added.

Pisit said that during the probe, the Navy is free to make a decision and sign on the deal, but the Office of the Attorney-General would provide suggestions to accompany its decision. Whether the deal would go ahead is the Navy’s responsibility. The Office of the Attorney-General is tasked with ensuring the utmost benefits of state budget spending, and provides suggestions in this regard, said Pisit.

The Navy is scheduled to send representatives to China from today to May 7 to sign the purchase deal for the first of three submarines, which was approved by the Cabinet on April 18. The first submarine would cost Bt13.5 billion.

The Navy said that it has been informed by the China Shipping and Offshore International company that it has coordinated with appropriate Chinese government agencies in preparing the necessary procurement documents and they are now ready for both sides to sign.

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