THE OFFICE of the Auditor-General (OAG) is preparing to take legal action against officials responsible for the construction of a provincial secondary school building, which allegedly has too many air-conditioners and light bulbs, causing a waste of state
Acting on a tip-off on social media, Suthipong Boonnithi, director of the OAG Zone 4 office covering the northeastern province, said those responsible for Sattri Chaiyaphum Secondary School’s new four-storey block, which cost Bt44.3 million were believed to have violated laws and rules governing the use of state funds because there was evidence the project cost was inflated to allow installation of more air-conditioners and light bulbs.
Suthipong said officials could face both disciplinary and criminal action due to the building design, which led to over-use of state funds and a breach of the energy conservation law.
The case was a hot topic on social media so the OAG decided to dispatch a team of officials to inspect the new school building at Sattri Chaiyaphum, which is a major provincial school for girls, with over 3,400 students.
The inspection team found there were too many air-conditioners and light bulbs installed in the building – along corridors and staircases.
Construction of the building was done using fiscal funds from 2513 to 2515 with Rajthani Development Co awarded a contract worth Bt44.3 million, Bt3.7 million below the median price set by the government.
In regard to the installation of air-conditioners and light bulbs, the total cost was Bt6.1 million. Suthipong said the project was not designed in accordance with state regulations. Air-conditioners were put in over staircases, for example.
He said officials should re-design the building, which has 26 rooms, to avoid using too many light bulbs in violation of the law on saving energy.
Overall, the building when used would have excessive operating costs due to heavy use of power for air-conditioners and light bulbs and in the end parents would have to pay so the school covered its costs, he said.
In addition to this building, there were at least seven other state-owned buildings that may have violated laws in a similar fashion, he said.