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Trader denies seeking bribes for Rajabhakti statues

Feb 17. 2016
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By THE NATION

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THE AMULET trader at the centre of the Rajabhakti Park scandal has denied demanding bribes from the casters of the giant statues of great kings, testifying that Bt20 million was donated to the park in Prachuap Khiri Khan on behalf of the five foundries.
Auditor-General Pisit Leelawachiropas told the “Inside Thailand” televised programme yesterday that last month the trader presented evidence of his services for the five foundries involving advising on, supervising and solving problems with their work. 
He was paid Bt20 million in instalments as consulting fee and for expenses. 
The Auditor-General’s Office had checked the transactions and would follow up on tax payments.
The office also was told the foundries had budgeted additional overheads up to 10 per cent from the expected profit so this didn’t raise questions of irregularity.
The trader had used some of the money to construct a temple but later decided to gather the remaining money and raise more to bring the total back to Bt20 million.
He transferred the money via his foundry’s bank account to the park fund, which presented a receipt for the money. The office had tried to evaluate if the payment to the trader was reasonable and learned that the cost of each statue had actually been reduced from Bt70 million to Bt15 million-Bt50 million. 
The office still had a few people left to question and should disclose the findings along with the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission soon, he added. 

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