Thai government opens fraud investigation over 112.5 billion baht glove purchase

PHOTO: Prachatai

The Thai government is opening an embezzlement investigation into an order placed with a local company for 112.5 billion baht worth of surgical gloves. The Public Warehouse Organisation’s administrative office director allegedly signed off on the order without approval.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered the director of the organisation’s administrative office, Roongroj Phuthiyawat, to be transferred to an inactive post in the PM’s office while both criminal and disciplinary investigations take place. The organisation is partnering with the Department of Special Investigation and the Anti-Money Laundering Office for the embezzlement probe.

The organisation cancelled the purchase with the Nakhon Pathom company Guardian Gloves, saying the contract was unlawful. A down payment of 2 billion baht was made already.

Roongroj says he didn’t do anything wrong and acted within the law. But the organisation says Roongroj was the acting director at the time he signed the purchase. An acting director is not allowed to sign off on projects or purchases more than 50 million baht without permission.

Apparently, the organisation is deep in debt. Roongroj says an exporter asked the organisation for 500 million boxes of gloves to ship overseas to the United States and Europe. He says he saw it as an opportunity to get the organisation out of debt. He claims he had to do a “fast track” on the order and if he asked permission from the board before making the order, it would have just taken longer and they may have lost the deal. He says he chose Guardian Gloves because they had the lowest down payment.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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