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DSI probes alleged corruption in B355mn Cherng Talay wastewater treatment systems

DSI probes alleged corruption in B355mn Cherng Talay wastewater treatment systems

PHUKET: Officers from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) inspected the wastewater-treatment plants at Surin Beach and Bang Tao yesterday (July 30) as they began their investigation into alleged corruption by MaAnn Samran, Chief of the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor).

pollutionenvironmentnatural-resourcescorruptionconstructioncrimetourism
By The Phuket News

Wednesday 31 July 2019, 01:18PM


The twin systems together cost more than B355.52 million, but stand accused as gross failures in treating wastewater before it flows into Bang Tao Bay.

The DSI investigators yesterday were led by Pol Capt Prasit KhanSai, Chief of DSI Operations Center Region 8. Joining him were special investigators Supachai Khamkhum and Pantamit Chuibumroong.

During their visit the investigators questioned Mr MaAnn and inspected the plans and the government contracts to build and operate the wastewater-treatment systems, officers from the DSI confirmed to The Phuket News.

Present to observe the inspection at the popular tourist beaches yesterday were Danai Yardee and other representatives from local community groups including the Local Fishery network, the Coastal Community network, the Conservation Network of the Gulf of Thailand-Andaman coast, and the Natural Resources Recovery network.

Mr Danai said that the investigation was in accordance with DSI order 142/2019, issued on July 18.

Mr Danai and Chamroon Kerndum together filed formal complaints with the DSI office in Surat Thani. Other complaints were also filed with the regional office for the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and the regional Ombudsman’s Office, also in Surat Thani. (See story here.)

The complaints alleged malfeasance and possible corruption in the B355mn project to build wastewater treatment plants at Surin and Bang Tao beaches, which in May were confirmed to still be releasing untreated wastewater onto the beaches.

The initial investigation into the complaints, which included the water spilling onto the beach carrying a foul smell, was carried out by officers from the Damrongtham Center (Ombudsman’s Office), Thalang District Office and Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor) as well as local village headmen and local residents.

Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana arrived to inspect the facilities in person, and ordered for urgent steps to be taken to prevent any more foul water pouring onto the beach.

“This problem affects the beautiful image of our tourist city (sic). We need to urgently find a way to solve this problem to alleviate the suffering of the people who are being affected by the pollution,” he said. (See story here.)

“I and network leader Mr Chamroon informed DSI investigation officers (about the wastewater-treatment systems in Cherng Talay) for many reasons, including beach area invasion, corruption by officials from various organizations, and collusion, leading to damage to the marine ecosystem of Surin-Bang Tao Beach, which is a protected area,” Mr Danai said yesterday.

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Capt Prasit explained that the objective of the visit yesterday was only to collect information.

“We will review this as a special case later. We will consider whether the equipment provided is the same quality as specified in the contract.

“The Terms of Reference (in the government contract) will also be examined because complainants reported corruption in the project, which cost more than B300mn,” he said.

“The construction and treatment system may not be the same as specified in the contract, and it may take more than six months to conclude this investigation,” he added.

Rangsan Saalay, leader of the Bang Tao fishery and tourism network, pointed out that the problem of wastewater being released into Bang Tao Bay had been ongoing for a long time.

“No officials have ever solved the problem. The wastewater treatment system may not work because a lot of wastewater still flows into the sea,” he said.

“It’s like we don’t have a treatment system at all,” he added.

In response to the investigation Mr MaAnn The Phuket News today (July 31), “It is just the normal process of a complaint being investigated. A complaint has been filed, so the DSI came down to follow up the complaint as it is their job.

“I assure you that some information provided to the investigators is beyond the truth,” he said.

“Whatever the complaint is, let’s wait until we see the results from the DSI investigation. That’s all,” Mr MaAnn added.

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Christy Sweet | 01 August 2019 - 13:05:52

Are Mr. Samran's words, "beyond the truth " a Freudian slip? One asks how a man once employed by the Sheraton has amassed so much wealth. 

Christy Sweet | 01 August 2019 - 12:59:20

Dear  Online Comment Editor of TPN,  Sic (as is) requires brackets [ ] as we discussed  a few weeks ago. Meanwhile  DSI, please visit North Bang Tao/ Layan Beach and witness the flattening of hundred of rai all over the place in Sirinart Nat'l Forest Reserve. Witness the filling in of wetlands  between Koktanod  and Layan Soi 7  with no EIA. 

Note: Thanks, but the use of "(sic)" i...

BenPendejo | 31 July 2019 - 22:36:11

These systems essentially do nothing other than concentrate certain wastewater discharges into a defined area. In the case of Surin, it flows out to a designated special place for the former King, and in BangTao, it ruins the beaches adjacent to a popular beach club and a nice hotel. Go look at BangTao outfall area on any day, and you wouldn't swim there, and certainly wouldn't vacation th...

Fascinated | 31 July 2019 - 19:05:33

Oh how nice it would be if a certain individual finally got their Karma!

vegasbaby | 31 July 2019 - 19:05:14

DSI should also count the number toilets in homes and businesses are not connected to any sewage system.  They, along with corrupt sewage treatment plants, dump untreated sewage daily into the sea for many years.  Effectively, Phuket has no sewage treatment at all.

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