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Former Kamala officials to be charged for corruption

Former Kamala officials to be charged for corruption

PHUKET: The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has submitted a request to the Office of the Attorney General to file corruption charges against five former members of the Kamala Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor), including former president Charun Sararak.

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Wednesday 10 July 2019, 04:26PM

The move to press charges follows a seven-year investigation that began in 2012 into the construction of canal retaining walls and a road in Moo 3, Kamala, for which a budget of more than B26 million was funded by the government.

The five officials stand accused of inflating the project price to solicit more than B3.2 million for their own gain.

NACC has announced on its website that the request to the Office of the Attorney General to file corruption charges against the five was submitted on May 22 this year.

The five officials to be charged were named as:

  1. Charun Sararak, former Kamala OrBorTor president
  2. Suwit Koomluk, former Kamala OrBorTor vice president
  3. Santi Attasub, former Kamala OrBorTor vice president,
  4. Rattapong Aksornwong, an engineer with the Public Works and Town & Country Planning division at Kamala OrBorTor
  5. Jiranai Suebsot, Kamala OrBorTor engineer who was construction supervisor for the project

Charun is to be charged for breaches of the Criminal Code Sections 90, 91, 151 and 157.

Section 151 states: “Whoever, to be the official to have the duty in the purchase, execution, management or maintenance of anything by a wrongful exercise of one's functions damaging the State, the Municipality, the Sanitation or the owner of such property, shall be imprisoned as from five years to twenty years or life imprisonment and fined as from two thousand Baht to forty thousand Baht.”

Section 157 states, “Whoever, being an official, wrongfully exercises or does not exercise any of his functions to the injury of any person, or dishonestly exercises or omits to exercise any of his functions, shall be punished with imprisonment of one to ten years or fined of two thousand to twenty thousand Baht, or both.”

Sections 90 and 91 refer to extra penalties for committing multiple offences.

The four others – Suwit, Santi, Rattapong and Jiranai – are to be charged under Section 157.

The NACC noted in its report that its initial investigation launch in 2014 focused on 11 members of the Kamala OrBorTor, the five to be charged as well as:

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  1. Karoon Sriden, former vice president
  2. Sontaya Soontornrak, former vice president
  3. Bumrung Pimonrattanakarn, director of the Public Works Division
  4. Thanang Chuchart, engineering assistant
  5. Jaree Pokbud, Moo 3 representative
  6. Atikom Anaburong, Moo 6 representative

However, no charges are to be brought against any of these six, the NACC reported.

The NACC also noted that the investigation followed a complaint filed in 2012, resulting in the State Audit Office of the Kingdom of Thailand (SAO) Region 13 office investigating claims of malfeasance in the project.

The SAO noted that the total budget of B26,465,000 for the project was confirmed in the contractor’s contract signed on Aug 10, 2005.

The SAO also found that price B26,465,000 budget was not calculated from the project cost submitted by the contractor, but estimated from the figures presented by Thanang, who was responsible for designing weir.

In total, the project budget had been inflated by B3,266,629, the SAO noted in their investigation.

Further, the contractor, Natthanon Supply Limited Partnership, was to be fined B820,415 – B26,465 per day for completing the project 31 days late – but Charun exercised an abuse of his powers in office to waive the fine, the SAO noted.

Of the original 11 Kamala OrBorTor members investigated for corruption, only Mr Karoon remains serving at the OrBorTor.

None of the five to be charged still hold positions at the OrBorTor.

The NACC also noted in its report a reminder that all five persons to be charged at this stage only stand accused of corruption. They will not be confirmed as guilty until a court verdict deems it so.

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