Wednesday, September 18, 2019

NACC facing ‘uphill task’ in Rolls-Royce bribery case probe

Jan 05. 2018
NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon
NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon
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By The Nation

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The National Anti-Corruption Commission on Friday conceded that investigation into the Rolls-Royce bribery case was an uphill task as the irregularities had occurred years ago, while the agency had to wait for related evidence from concerned foreign agencies, NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon said.

The case involves bribery allegations against some Thai Airways International, PTT, and PTT Exploration and Production Co Ltd officials.

The NACC had said last March that some 26 people including former ministers, chairmen, presidents and other senior officials would be questioned over the Thai Airways Rolls-Royce bribery case.

The UK-based Rolls-Royce had reportedly admitted to paying more than Bt1.2 billion in bribes to Thai officials in return for multi-billion-baht purchase orders for aircraft engines. 

Worawit said the NACC had finished gathering about 80 per cent of evidence related to the case and had questioned about 60 per cent of those connected with the case. It has been coordinating with the UK to be able to proceed with criminal proceedings.

Regarding PTT and PTTEP, Worawit said the agency had been coordinating with the United States to be able to proceed with criminal charges. It had finished gathering about 60 per cent of evidence, Worawit said.

He said the NACC has no control over evidence that has to be provided by foreign agencies. It was hard to set a time frame, and it could only wait patiently for them to provide the related evidence, he added.

The Rolls-Royce bribery case was among other corruption cases on which the NACC provided updates at a press conference on Friday.

The NACC also revealed progress in the PTT Green Energy palm oil scandal in Indonesia, alleged unlawful renting of the Huai Mek public land in Khon Kaen province, and alleged corruption in the National Office of Buddhism’s temple restoration project from 2012-2015.

Worawit said the NACC has finished summoning 47 individuals in connection with the PTT Green Energy palm oil scandal. It has also been coordinating with Indonesia for related evidence and witnesses. The NACC expects to complete its investigation into the case within this year, Worawit said.

Regarding the temple restoration kickbacks scandal, the NACC has received complaints against 133 temples nationwide. It has completed its investigation into 12 temples, while 120 more are still under investigation. The NACC has charged some officials involved in the project at Wat Phanan Choeng in Ayutthaya, Worawit said.

He said in the Huai Mek public land scandal in Khon Kaen, some state officials were accused of helping a private entity illegally occupy the 31-rai plot of land.

The NACC had received a complaint last September and it is now investigating whether a land use permit is lawful or not, Worawit said.

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