Mr Sira went public late last week after receiving death threats over the project. (See story here.)
In response, MP Sira arrived in Phuket on Sunday (Aug 18) to attend a protest by local residents against the project, and yesterday at Phuket Provincial Hall assured the press that he will push to prosecute any officials found involved in allowing the project to be built on protected forest land.
“I will also go to Karon Municipality to ask about permission given for the construction, and go to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) Phuket office to check if there has been any progress in this case,” he said.
“I will ask the Ministry of Interior why the Phuket Governor let this happen, and I will prosecute relevant officers who did wrong or ignored this case – even though I have received a death threat,” Mr Sira assured. (See story here.)
At Provincial Hall yesterday, Mr Sira filed a formal complaint with the Damrongdhama Center (Provincial Ombudsman’s Office) calling for them to investigate The Peaks project for encroaching on protected forest land.
In his complaint, Mr Sira also called on the Phuket Government to investigate the construction permit issued and whether the construction is continuing as written in the permit.
Mr Sira also requested that if any wrongdoing is found, for the government to order all work at the site to stop and for the Karon Mayor to be removed from office and the contractor to leave the area so that the investigation can be transparent.
Mr Sira yesterday levelled a barrage of heavy criticism at Phuket officials for allowing the project to continue.
“The complaint that I filed today will also be filed to the Ministry of Justice to be considered as a special case on Aug 21,” Mr Sira told Governor Phakaphong.
“Additionally, I will also filed a request to the Department of Rights and Liberties Protection for protection,” he added.
“I will also file a request with the Anti Money Laundering Office (Amlo) to investigate the properties owned by and any financial transactions involving any officers related to this project,” Mr Sira promised Gov Phakaphong.
Governor Phakaphong pointed out that on Aug 16 he had ordered for an investigation committee, led by Vice Governor Supoj Rotreuang Na Nongkhai, to be set up to investigate the project.
“We will know the investigation result within 30 days. The Phuket Government pays attention to the accuracy and fairness for everyone,” Governor Phakaphong said.
During a heated discussion with Mr Sira yesterday afternoon, Karon Mayor Tawee defended the actions by his office.
“Karon Municipality and relevant officials permitted the construction as all the required documents, which are legally accurate, had been filed,” he said.
“However, on Aug 13, there was a complaint about a landslide which negatively affected local residents, so on Aug 16 we ordered the construction to be suspended and for those who are responsible for the project to ‘manage the environmental impact’ (sic) of the project,” Mayor Tawee said.
Mayor Tawee did not make clear whether that investigation was the same one as ordered Governor Phakaphong – both coming only after a landslide at the site.
Sombat Atiset, President of the Katathani Hotels Group and founder of the Local Love Foundation, pointed out in March this year that the project sits on a slope too steep for any such project to be built by law – a factor consistently obliqued by any officials talking about the project.
Instead, they are choosing to focus on the legitimacy of the project developer’s claim to the land.
The Local Love Foundation filed a formal complaint against the project that led to an inspection by Lt Gen Kittisak Boonsuk, Deputy Director of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Operations Coordination Center 4, in March.
During that visit Gen Kittisak said that construction of The Peaks residences was allowed to continue, pending the Supreme Administrative Court hearing an appeal by the project developer, Kata Beach Co Ltd, which claims the NorSor 3 Kor land deed presented as evidence of ownership of the land is valid. (See story here.)
Mr Sira yesterday pointed out that the project was receiving attention from the highest levels.
“Gen Prawit Wongsuwan called to ask me about this,” he said.
Asked why Phuket MPs, who are both Palang Pracharath Party members, were not involved in the issue, Mr Sira said, “In line with our party’s strategy, they are working with the Office of the Narcotics Control Board to make Phuket to be a non-drug area.”
The Phuket News contacted The Peaks Residences for comment today (Aug 20) and was told that no public statement was ready at this time. We would be informed if one is issued, The Phuket News was told.