“I really worry about cities like Phuket that have not only residents but also a lot of tourists.
“If the police stations and police houses cannot be finished and [completion of] the contract keep being postponed as it has in the past, the police will not be able to work effectively and that surely affects tourism,” said Mr Prompong.
Police stations and accommodation blocks around the country are lying unfinished after the builder awarded the contract for the entire country, Chiang Mai-based PCC Development and Construction, stopped work a couple of years ago.
PCC was awarded the B9.5 billion in contracts to build 396 new police stations (B5.8 billion) and 163 blocks of police flats (B3.7 billion) in April 2010, when the Democrats were in power. All the work was supposed to have been completed in June last year.
The comments from Mr Prompong, who is also an MP and Secretary of the National Anti Corruption Commission (NACC), came after the chairman of PCC broke his silence yesterday (February 21), blaming the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) for his company’s controversial failure to complete the massive project.
Piboon Udonsithikul said in Chiang Mai that construction fell behind schedule because the RTPO failed to hand over the land on time, as promised in the contract.
The police office was required to make the land available to the builders within 160 days, but failed to do so. In some areas it took up to 600 days, Mr Piboon said at a press conference.
Mr Piboon was making his first public explanation since the firm was targeted by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) for possible price collusion with politicians.
He said he would soon go to see the DSI with documents showing that construction had not been completed on time because the RTPO was too slow in handing over the land for the buildings.
He said he had sufficient evidence to show he had no connection with any politicians, and that he personally did not know former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva nor former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban.
Mr Piboon also denied he was the father-in-law of a “well-known politician”, as had been rumoured.
PCC had never been involved in any bidding price collusion and had not abandoned the construction of the police stations as alleged, he added.
Construction of the police stations was initially due to be finished by June 18 last year, but PCC failed to complete the contract on time and had since won three extensions from the present government.
Under the third extension, PCC was to complete all construction by March 14 this year. Instead, the construction sites remain unattended and buildings incomplete or not begun.
The contracts were signed in 2009 when Mr Suthep was assigned by Mr Abhisit, the prime minister at the time, to oversee the police.
The RTPO plans to sue PCC once the contract expires, and the DSI plans to forward the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) next week, recommending action against officials involved in the megaproject.
The DSI has excluded national police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew and his predecessor, Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong, from involvement in the case.
Despite Mr Piboon protestations, Mr Prompong told The Phuket News he still believes that there was bid collusion and cheating.
“It is their [PCC’s] right to deny any cheating, but it is strange that they were one of the companies who wrote to the government opposing the award of one contract for the whole country yet they were the ones who finally won the contract,” Mr Prompong said.
“They should have known what would happen after the contract for the whole country was awarded to one company – that was why they opposed it before.
“The contract with the RTP also barred them from hiring subcontractors. The RTP has evidence to prove that they broke that clause of the contract.
“Now, officers from the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) are investigating the way that the budget went through. Then we will know where the money is.”
He said that PCC may be able to sue the RTP, but he believes that the RTP has the information and evidence to fight back.
Additional material by Bangkok Post