– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
PHUKET: Following a public and media outcry, the price of 89 microphones intended for communication in the Cabinet meeting room at Government House has been reduced by 35 per cent.
Monthon Sudprasert, director of the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, who has been in charge of the renovation of Government House, said the department negotiated with the audio system supplier – Asavasopon Co – to lower the price of the microphones.
Bosch Thailand, the importer, had quoted their cost at Bt145,000 to Bt94,250 each. The Bosch system DCNM-NMD comes with LED screens at Bt300,000 each.
Monthon said after price negotiations, the whole system would now cost Bt53 million. Monthon said the department would help the state save some Bt14 million from the original price.
Monthon said renovation of Government House had to be carried out rapidly to be ready for the Prayuth Cabinet’s first meeting.
The National Council for Peace and Order approved a proposal from the Secretariat of the PM to suspend all directives involved in procuring equipment and electronic materials during renovation of the building.
National Legislative Assembly member Maj-General Kolchai Suvanboon had said the NLA would look into the controversy after criticism went viral that there might be corruption in the acquisition of the microphones to be used at Cabinet meetings.
PM’s Office Minister Panadda Diskul last week landed in hot water after showing reporters the audio system that had been installed in the meeting room.
The minister denied having any role in the procurement, saying that Monthon was in charge of the project.
Monthon earlier said the contract had yet to be signed. He also refuted media speculation that a 15-per-cent advance payment had been paid to the supplier. Bidding documents for the audio system were circulated to the media on Tuesday.
When asked by reporters if it was possible the procurement of the audio system could be dropped because of its high cost, Monthon said the reduced price was now suitable and acceptable for high-tech equipment of its kind, saying this system was used at the Nuclear Summit meeting in the Netherlands.
He stopped short of saying he would review the final price and would be ready to have the public check the planned procurement details.
The official also denied his department had procured LED light bulbs at over Bt100,000 each.
— Phuket Gazette Editors