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Former Democrat Minster Faces 5.84 Million Malfeasance Charge

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Thailand’s Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to punish former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban for alleged malfeasance involving a government project to build 396 new police stations for 5.84 billion baht a decade ago.

The anti-graft body told the Supreme Court that from June 9, 2009, to April 18, 2013, Mr Suthep and Pol Gen Pateep Tanprasert changed the project’s implementation from multiple contracts to only a single contract.

Pol Gen Pateep was then acting national police chief.

Mr Suthep was deputy prime minister with Thailand’s Democrat Party when the project was approved.

Other defendants in the alleged malfeasance case were Pol Maj Gen Sajja Kochahiran and Pol Lt Col Suriya Chaengsuwan. Both of whom were members of a bids verification committee for the project, and PCC Development and Construction Co which won the contract, and Wissanu Wisetsing, an executive of the company.

According to the NACC, Mr Wissanu tendered contract bids that were unusually low and the verification committee failed to examine the unusual prices. Instead, they used the quotations in seeking approval for awarding the job to PCC Development and Construction Co, which later failed to complete the construction and caused damage to the Royal Thai Police.

Read: Police Officers Face Malfeasance Probe Over Red Bull Heirs Car Crash

NACC asked the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to punish Mr Suthep and Pol Gen Pateep for malfeasance; Pol Maj Gen Sajja and Pol Lt Col Suriya for malfeasance, corrupt procurement and price collusion in a government project; and the company and the executive for supporting the officials’ wrongdoing.

The defendants appeared before the court on Tuesday and were granted bail of one million baht. On Feb 17 next year, the first hearing will take place at 9:30 am.

Mr Suthep is a founder of the Action Coalition for Thailand Party, which is a coalition partner with the government. He served as deputy prime minister in the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva in 2011 when the police station project was approved.

One of the contractors responsible for hundreds of construction sites walked off without finishing many police stations.

The scandal made national headlines and has since been discussed on a number of occasions.

From late 2013 to early 2014, Mr Suthep led street protests against the Pheu Thai administration. In May, Gen Prayut Chan-o-Cha, currently the prime minister, led the military coup.

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