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Corruption questions raised over failed Phuket construction projects

Corruption questions raised over failed Phuket construction projects

PHUKET: A key Phuket government information office has shared posts online by a national anti-corruption network, calling into question major constructions projects that have failed to materialise despite hundreds of millions of baht spent on them.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 31 January 2023, 06:40PM

The Phuket Info Center shared the two posts by the “STRONG Anti-Corruption Thailand Club” over the past two days.

The Phuket Info Center, originally launched as an official COVID-19 information service, is operated under the Phuket branch of the Ministry of Interior, namely under the Phuket Governor’s Office.

One of the posts highlighted a building at Phuket Rajabhat University, located north of Phuket Town, that remains unfinished despite construction starting 10 years ago and B495 million already being spent on the project.

The building, originally intended to provide a venue to hold teaching courses in hospitality, now sits abandoned, the post said.

Construction began in 2013, with B199.6mn paid during the “first round”. More funds were dedicated to the project three more times, the post said.

In early 2016, B4.3mn was spent on hiring experts for a new design. At the end of 2016, another budget of B229.7mn was contributed to the project.

Last year a further B61.4mn was allocated to completing the building “and it is still not finished”, the post continued.

“After 10 years, there is still no sign that the construction has been completed. From investigation, it was found that in addition to the problem of changing the budget funds assigned along the way, there is still a problem with land boundaries. Who does not survey the area well before starting the project?” the anti-corruption network questioned.

“It is considered to be acting incorrectly. [They] cannot claim that they do not know the area and the various regulations of the university, and are using the distance between the Council President and the Chancellor for mutual benefit,” the network said.

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“This project must be transferred into the good hands of an inspection agency to carry out an intensive investigation, because in addition to losing the budget, we also lose the opportunity that students in the Andaman zone can learn hotel business education, which is the main occupation in the area,” the network said.

The other project highlighted was B131mn that was supposed to be spent improving the Phuket Check Point, through which all vehicles travelling onto or off the island by road must pass.

“Recently, the network of the STRONG club in Phuket has been monitoring the abandoned ‘Andaman Safety Center Enhancement Project’, which was to build confidence among tourists in the area of Tha Chatchai Checkpoint in Mai Khao, Thalang, Phuket,” the network said on its Facebook page.

“The budget was B131,490,000, divided into construction of a tourist checkpoint building worth B16mn, a front office building worth B14mn and B101mn on improving the area,” the network explained.

“The project started in 2016, with the contract specifying the work was to be completed by April 19, 2017, but after six years there is still no sign that it will be opened.

“The internal condition is damaged and incomplete [as shown in the pictures]. It is a waste of space and a waste of budget funds that cannot be used again.

“Phuket is a world-class tourist city, each year it receives 10mn tourists, but instead of completing this and being able to use it, where did the project become stuck?” the network asked.

“Have the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning and other inspection agencies follow up urgently,” the net work proposed.

The STRONG Anti-Corruption Thailand Club carries a large following. Its Facebook page alone has more than 110,000 followers. The two posts calling into question the failed construction projects in Phuket were shared among the network’s followers nationwide.

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Pooliekev | 01 February 2023 - 14:34:30

Oh dear, the usual, creaking, elderly suspects are very vocal on this. I see the exit door to Thailand isn't affected. Time to use their state-of-the-art facilities? I think so. 

JohnC | 01 February 2023 - 09:36:51

Just two of dozens of similar such projects never completed. Bet there are plenty of healthy bank accounts belonging to senior officials that benefited from these incompeleted construction works.

Kurt | 01 February 2023 - 08:58:05

A perfect show of how deep integrated Thai society corruption do paralyze and damage this country in many ways. No wonder Thai neither give nor earn trust. Thailand has signed the UN Convention against corruption ( UNCAC). Just throw it in the dust bin.


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