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Ombudsman’s office to set up committee to probe submarine deal

May 14. 2017
file photo : Gen Withawat Rachatanan
file photo : Gen Withawat Rachatanan
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By Chanikarn Phumhiran
The Nation

The Office of the Ombudsman will soon set up a committee to investigate if there were any irregularities in the Bt13.5-billion submarine deal signed earlier this month by the Thai Navy and a Chinese state-owned company.

The acting Ombudsman, president General Withawat Rachatanan, said on Sunday that the committee would comprise not only the Office’s probe team but also outside experts who would be capable of evaluating the submarine’s worthiness based on potential threats.

Withawat said the main questions in the probe would be whether the maritime hardware had been included in the military’s 10-year strategy, and how national threats were evaluated prior to the strategy drafting.

The move by the Ombudsman follows a petition from activist Srisuwan Janya last Monday. Srisuwan questioned the Cabinet’s approval for the multi-billion-baht procurement, saying it might have violated the budget procedure bill as well as the new charter, which requires any agreement involving national security issues to be brought before Parliament.

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