A Thai Army General and two other accomplices have been sentenced to jail for colluding to coerce two companies into paying 43 million baht (US$1.35million) for state projects that did not exist.
In a ruling yesterday, the Criminal Court in Bangkok found General Sompote Ngerncharoen, 66, Chutikan Boonmee, and Thanankan Nanthadamrongwat guilty of committing fraud.
A former assistant leader of a team attached to the chief of staff of the Department of Defence, General Sompote was a former adviser to a commander of the Fourth Region Army.
Investigators say between March 28 and July 20, 2018, the three defendants, as well as other suspects still at large, defrauded a company by falsely claiming they could secure a state contract for the supply and installation of LED lighting in a project coordinated by the Energy Ministry.
General fabricated projects
Gen Sompote falsely claimed to be a member of the National Legislative Assembly, which has since been dissolved. According to him, he would be able to secure the contract for schools in Khon Kaen and demanded that the firm pay them “administrative” and other fees amounting to more than 31 million baht (US$955,000).
However, the court was informed the project didn’t exist.
They were also accused of defrauding the owner of another private company between Dec 19, 2017, and Aug 21, 2018.
The owner was offered access to a bogus government project to install solar panels for 100 schools in Loei.
According to prosecutors, Mr. Chutikan persuaded the company owner to pay 12.7 million baht (US$391,500) for “administrative” fees and other fees.
In court, all three defendants denied the charges against them.
General Sompote and Mr. Thanankan were sentenced to two years in prison, and Mr. Chutikan was sentenced to one year in prison.
Moreover, they were ordered to return 28 million baht (US$863,435) to the first company and 12.7 million baht (US$391,500) to the second company.
Khon Kaen authorities also believe Gen Sompote is involved in a number of other fraud cases in the northeastern province.