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Garbage truck graft claims probed

Apr 03. 2018
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By KORNKAMON AKSORNDECH
THE NATION

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THE POLICE Counter-Corruption Division (CCD) is poised to investigate 11 local administrative organisations in 10 provinces over alleged corruption in the procurement of sewage and garbage trucks, costing more than Bt70 million in public funds.

CCD deputy commander Pol Colonel Chak Pengsathorn said on Tuesday that officers in Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Samut Sakhon, Phitsanulok, Rayong, Si Sa Ket, Phetchabun, Sing Buri, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi provinces had collected initial findings in the investigation. Their respective district chiefs would file formal complaints to the CCD to seek punishment for the officials and private companies involved.

The CCD, along with a network against public-sector corruption, has investigated alleged collusion between local administrators over contract bids for the vehicles. This resulted in a first batch of 21 local bodies being scrutinised by the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which handles corruption cases involving politicians (including those working at the local administrative bodies) and high-ranking officials.

Chak said the local bodies allegedly exaggerated the median price of sewage and garbage trucks, which have special features that are not available in the normal market. As a result, trucks that should have cost about Bt11 million each (including the vehicle, tax and a moderate profit) were bought at Bt17 million to Bt18 million each. The process seemed to favour two companies that shared several executives.

The bidding process also involved five sub-standard firms, which were highly unlikely to win any tender, to compete with the two other companies to meet the legal requirement that bidding for state contracts must involve multiple competitors, Chak said.

Funded by taxpayers’ money, local administrative organisations usually have leftover money from their annual budgets, which they accumulate and keep for use during an emergency or disaster. Some 7,000 local bodies nationwide are said to have a total of Bt10 billion in leftover budget.

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