By THE NATION
Of the 19 suspects in this mega-fraud case, four failed to show up at yesterday’s scheduled reading of the top court’s verdict, which was postponed for the second time.
The four suspects who were absent were: Roy-isaraporn Chutapha, director of the Gateway Development Co; Charlee Chutapha, director of Klong Dan Marine Co; Chayanat Osathanugrah, director of Klong Dan Marine Co; and Wattana Asavahem, a former deputy interior minister who fled the country in 2009 while the case was still in the Court of Appeals.
Dating back to the mid-1990s, all 19 suspects were charged with conspiring to cheat the state by using land plots totalling 1,900 rai in Samut Prakan province for construction of a massive waste-water treatment facility under a fraudulent contract signed with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
The other suspects include Vichitphun Construction Co, Pitsanu Chavanun, Prayoonvit Kanchang Co, Sangworn Lipatapanlop, Sisaeng Yotha Co, Siroj Wongsirojkul, Krungthon Engineering Co, and Niphon Kosaipholkul. A daughter of Siroj told the court that her father was in hospital due to a heart condition so the court was requested to postpone the reading of its verdict to a new date.
Previously, Wattana, the former deputy interior minister, was sentenced to a 10-year jail term for abuse of authority while in office with regard to the issuing of illegal land documents to facilitate the Klong Dan waste water treatment project.