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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: B350bn water project hits corruption dam; Khon Kaen killer cop; Cheating teacher investigated

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: B350bn water project hits corruption dam; Khon Kaen killer cop; Cheating teacher investigated | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Water projects may break corruption law
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The government might run into another serious legal problem; barely escaping the Administrative Court’s injunction last week, the Bt350-billion water-management project could be found to violate the Counter Corruption Act BE2542 (1999).

A source at the Comptroller General’s Department said on condition of anonymity that Article 103/7 of the act specified that government agencies must draw up an appraisal with details of expenditure on procurements, which must be revealed to the public via the Internet or through published media channels.

“In general practice, we set up the project before calculating its investment budget. However, for this water-management project, the government has created the budget before informing the public about the project details,” the department source said.

“The question is, how can they know how much money needs to be invested? The government has already set up the Bt350-billion loan to facilitate the project, so this indicates that the government has already calculated the budget to be allocated. If this is the case, why hasn’t the government presented the project to the general public?”

The government last week proceeded with the tendering process, as the Administrative Court turned down an injunction request filed by the Stop Global Warming Association. The request was filed on the ground that no project details were available before the tendering was kicked off. The investment scheme, touted by the government as a strategy to win back local and foreign investor confidence after the great flood of 2011, on Friday received bids from only four companies.

There has also been some effort to draw some of the investment to other projects not included in the nine infrastructure modules for the water project. Under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s order, Bt10 billion would be allocated to the Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development for the development of water infrastructure in the Eastern Seaboard – to ensure smooth operations of industrial plants.

According to a person familiar with the committee, of that Bt10 billion, the Agriculture Department is tapping Bt3 billion for its land-use zoning project. Another Bt2 billion is now being tapped to address water pollution in the East.

The subcommittee on water strategy in the |East is expected to review the spending plans worth Bt5 billion tomorrow.

The plans will be forwarded for the Cabinet’s approval on May 14. If approved, the committee will be able to borrow money for the projects.

If government agencies don’t adhere to Article 103/7 of the Counter Corruption Act, then under Article 103/8 of the same act the National Anti-Corruption Commission is obliged to report the issue to the Cabinet. The government can then order the agency to present the procurement information to the public. This must be done within 180 days after the project receives government approval, the source at the Comptroller-General’s Department added.

The department on April 22 just completed the new median prices of government procurement projects, to be in line with the adjustment in the daily minimum wage to Bt300.

The rise in the minimum wage has pushed up the cost of procurements by about 2.91 per cent on average.

“However, the cost increases vary from one procurement to another because of their different construction patterns,” the source said. “As a result, the government cannot apply the average increase of procurement cost to the appraisal adjustment. Nevertheless, the Comptroller-General’s Department has its own calculation formula for the appraisal adjustment, of which the government agencies have been advised.”

Policeman wanted for Khon Kaen killing
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Police yesterday issued an arrest warrant for Khon Kaen’s Nong Rua deputy superintendent Pol Lt-Colonel Somjit Kaewphrom, 43, after his subordinate implicated him as the man who shot dead the chief administrator of Khon Kaen’s Provincial Administration Organisation.

Suchart Kothum, 53, was killed in front of his Muang district home on Friday.

Royal Thai Police senior adviser Pol General Chalermkiat Sriworakhan said Somjit’s arrest warrant followed the earlier arrest of Pol Senior Sgt-Major Weerasak Chamnanpol, 37, in Maha Sarakham.

They allege that during interrogation, Weerasak confessed to being a target identifier for the team and also implicated his superior Somjit as the man who pulled the trigger.

Besides getting an arrest warrant for Somjit, Chalermkiat said police were now looking for two other members of the assassination team based on surveillance-video evidence, and a motive for the killing should be known after Somjit’s arrest. He said police would work with transparency to ensure justice for all sides.

Weerasak was brought for re-enactment to Suchart’s house at 1.30pm yesterday amid tight security. Onlookers included Suchart’s co-workers.

Provincial Police Region 4 deputy chief Pol Maj-General Sakda Techakriengkrai said both Somjit and Weerasak were initially dismissed from the civil service pending investigation. Weerasak is now detained at Muang Khon Kaen police station and police opposed his bail.

Meanwhile Nong Rua superintendent Pol Colonel Thanomsit Wongwijan said both men were good drug-suppression policemen and still came to work on Saturday before being out of reach by phone during the next two days.

A source at Suchart’s office, who asked not to be named, said a motive for the killing might stem from conflict over a local development budget.

Suchart’s royal-sponsored cremation rite will be held at Wat Srichan on May 15.

Education chief vows instant dismissal if DSI finds school director, assistant teacher guilty of cheating
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The education office chief of an allegedly corrupt school director and an assistant teacher in Nakhon Ratchasima yesterday vowed to dismiss them from their posts if the Department of Special Investigation found them guilty of cheating in the latest assistant-teacher examination.

Wicha Manadee, director of Nakhon Ratchasima Primary Educational Service Area Office 2, said he was awaiting the results of the DSI’s investigation, which are due to be issued tomorrow, as the report would establish whether the two subordinates were guilty.

The two being investigated are Amphorn Thawannakul, director of Sema-uppatham School in Chakkarat district – and also a member of the subcommittee of the education area’s Office of the Teacher Civil Service and Educational Personnel Commission – and Suchao Yatheelo, an assistant teacher working at Kong Rot Rat Samakkhi School in Huai Thalaeng district.

“If they are found guilty and the subcommittee agrees with the decision, I will order them to be dismissed from their positions immediately,” he said.

Amphorn had allegedly sold answers to Suchao, who achieved abnormally high scores in the assistant-teacher exam.

DSI officials on Friday raided Amphorn’s house in Muang district and found answers for the test-paper questions in all of the exam subjects.

They also found ev

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Road deaths

4 people killed after SUV drives off the road, into canal

Caitlin Ashworth

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4 people killed after SUV drives off the road, into canal | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

4 people died after a driver allegedly hit a curb and lost control of her Toyota Fortuner SUV, running it off the road and into a Chon Buri canal.

The driver, 38 year old Sukanya from Bangkok, survived and told police she was driving 6 friends from Bangkok to Rai Lak Thong, a subdistrict in Chon Buri. She says the road was dark and she was unfamiliar with the area. She hit a curb, breaking through the road barrier and overturning the car. The SUV then slid into the a Phanat Nikhom district canal.

The water in the canal was high due to the weekend storm. The driver and 2 others were able to get out through the window, but the others – 1 man and 3 women- drowned in the submerged vehicle. By the time rescue workers arrived and pulled the bodies out of the car, they were dead.

Pattaya Mail did not report if the driver will face any charges related to the incident.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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Protests

5 protesters to be charged over a rally in front of the Thai Army’s headquarters

The Thaiger

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5 protesters to be charged over a rally in front of the Thai Army’s headquarters | The Thaiger

With impeccable timing, Nang Loeng police have summoned 5 protest leaders to appear before the Special Prosecutor’s Office at the Dusit District Court in Bangkok. They will be formally charged over their roles in a protest in front of the Army’s headquarters on July 20. At the time it followed an online exchange from an Army official criticising the students who had been protesting at the Democracy Monument days before.

The protest targeted Colonel Nusra Vorapatratorn, deputy spokesperson of the Army. Posting on her Facebook page about the Saturday protest, the Colonel said that rally’s participants should “focus on doing their jobs rather than joining the protest.” The Colonel later deleted the social media post.

Another army spokesman, Colonel Winthai Suvaree, spoke to the media at the time and stated that Nusra “had expressed her personal opinion” and that “she is no longer the deputy spokesperson”.

After protesting outside the Army over the contents of the post, 5 protest leaders face official charges of “violating the Emergency Decree, the Traffic Act and use of loudspeakers in public without permission. The 5 protagonists facing charges are human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Piyarath “Toto” Jongthep, Suwanna Tarnlek and Panupong Jardnok (Mike Rayong).

All 5 deny the charges and say they will defend their roles in court.

The charges follow a weekend of protests, with up to some 30,000 people gathering in the Bangkok rain to rally against the government and confirm a 10-point manifesto which includes demands to reform Thai politics and the country’s monarchy. Specially the demands include the dissolution of the Thai parliament, standing down of the current PM and a new constitution to replace the 2017 Thai charter.

Today the Fine Arts Department has also says it will file charges of “trespassing on an archaeological site” after protesters yesterday embedded a symbolic brass plaque to replace another plaque that dates back to the 1932 Siam Revolution (when a bloodless coup overthrew the ‘absolute monarchy’ in Thailand). That plaque mysteriously disappeared in 2017.

The protesters responded this afternoon by saying that Sanam Luang is not an archaeological site, but a “public space for recreation and for vendors and hawkers”.

Following on from the support of the crowd over the weekend, the protesters are planning to stage another protest in front of Parliament this Thursday. A House debate on constitutional amendments is due to start this Wednesday.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Thailand Post to upcycle parcel boxes into furniture for Border Patrol Police School

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand Post to upcycle parcel boxes into furniture for Border Patrol Police School | The Thaiger
PHOTO: beartai

The Thailand Post is going to turn its parcel cardboard boxes and paper envelopes into tables and chairs for students at the Border Patrol Police School. The postal service says they’ve already received 10,000 kilograms of used boxes and envelopes for the upcycling project.

People can send used parcel boxes and envelopes back to Thailand Post to be collected for the furniture project. President of the postal service Korkij Danchaivichit says discounts and promotions are offered through the 9.9 online shopping campaign which promotes the reuse of the packages. He says some local online marketers have already hopped on board.

“It is a win-win situation for all… First of all, suppliers use compostable paper parcels that are eco-friendly; also 9.9 online shopping enhances the economy, and finally, we (Post Office) get to collect the reusable paper parcels and turn them into furniture to supply schools.”

The campaign ends on October 31. Korkij says he’d like to invite more people, online retailers and businesses to send back their used parcel boxes and envelopes.

SOURCES:Xinhua| Nation Thailand

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