The investigation follows comments by angry local residents about the exorbitant prices paid for the swings, located at the Cherng Talay Municipality Sport Center.
NACC Phuket officers met with Cherng Talay Municipality Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Samart Aisawan for over an hour yesterday (Feb 21) to discuss the purchases.
After the meeting Mr Samart told reporters that the playground equipment was purchased in 2015.
Mr Samart later led reporters to the playground to show that the equipment was still functioning safely.
“There are no problems with the children’s play equipment in this playground that will cause any problems,” Mr Samart said.
Mr Samart showed reporters a total of six ‘swings’ of moulded plastic shapes mounted on springs as ‘bouncy rides’ for young children.
“It is assumed that this equipment will remain safe to use for eight to nine years because it is made of reasonable quality. Usually playground equipment like this lasts only two to three years,” Mr Samart said.
“But these swings have not been repaired and can still be used safely to play,” he added.
Mr Samart said he was aware of the comments posted on social media online harshly criticising the amount of money spent on buying the swings.
He was said the project to purchase the swings had already been inspected by the Office of the Auditor General in 2016 and cleared of any wrongdoing.
“People are saying that we paid too much for this equipment, but there is no standard price for buying things like this, and what we bought was equipment that lasts a long time,” he said.
“The correct procedure under the procurement regulations was followed in all respects,” he added.
However, what Mr Samart neglected to tell reporters, but was revealed by NACC Phuket officials this morning (Feb 22), was that Cherng Talay Municipality in 2014 paid Genius Kids Co Ltd B1.193 million to install a pair of slides and a set of adventure swings, priced at B870,500.
The company also installed a slide for B44,500, a rope-climb swing (B39,500), six horse ‘bouncy rides’ at B49,800 each (total B298,800), a stone bar (B67,500) and a play tunnel (B53,000).
The installation was completed from April to May 2014. The total cost of the equipment was B1,373,800, with the company pocketing the difference of B556,200 for the installation.
However, just a year later, Cherng Talay Municipality in 2015 contracted Genius Kids Co Ltd again, this time to install children’s playground equipment for B1.95mn.
A ‘fun garden’ set costing B834,000 was installed, along with two spring ‘bouncy ride’ swings costing B65,000 each (total B130,000 for the pair), a hippo spring rocking ‘bouncy ride’ also for B65,000, and two spring rocking ‘bouncy ride’ lions also for B65,000 each (B130,000 for the pair).
The swings were Installed from July to August 2015, the NACC Phuket office reported.
Total cost of the playground equipment installed in 2015 was B1,159,000, with Genius Kids Co Ltd this time pocketing B791,000 for the two-month installation.
Through the two projects alone, which took just two months each time, Genius Kids Co Ltd cleared B1,347,200, or B336,800 per month.
The NACC Phuket office said it was continuing its investigation.
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub
JohnC | 23 February 2023 - 09:04:15