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MONDAY, October 03, 2022
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Brake put on Defence Ministry plan to buy Mercedes fleet for generals

Brake put on Defence Ministry plan to buy Mercedes fleet for generals

FRIDAY, July 29, 2022
384

The Auditor General’s Office has launched an investigation into a Defence Ministry project to buy luxury Mercedes-Benz sedans as “command vehicles” for its generals.

The probe came after the project was grilled by the House committee tasked with scrutinising the Budget Bill for the fiscal year 2023.

A team from the Auditor General’s Office has been dispatched to examine the purchase plan in detail on matters such as the purpose of the vehicles, their intended missions, and the number of cars to be purchased, an informed source said on Friday.

Earlier media reports said that the Defence Ministry requested a budget of over 100 million baht to buy 30 Mercedes-Benz S500 and S400 sedans. Retail prices for the luxury models range from 7 million to 8 million baht per vehicle.

However, a ministry source said the number of cars was “fewer than 30”. The sedans were intended for missions that require vehicles with high performance, such as transporting VIPs and issuing commands in real time, according to the source.

The House committee scrutinising the Budget Bill has shelved the budget request pending further explanation from the Defence Ministry.

Brake put on Defence Ministry plan to buy Mercedes fleet for generals

Former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, who is vice chairman of the panel, said the armed forces have yet to answer his two “simple questions” regarding the requested budget for luxury cars for their generals.

Somchai wants to know how many generals the armed forces have and also how many “command vehicles” have been bought over the past decade and at what cost.

Brake put on Defence Ministry plan to buy Mercedes fleet for generals