Saraburi mayor arrested on bribery allegations involving construction contracts

Picture courtesy of Wassayos Ngamkham

Prachum Khwanmuang, mayor of tambon Talad Noi municipality in Saraburi province, was apprehended by authorities yesterday, January 23, due to alleged allegations of bribery. Accused of taking a 12% bribe for authorising the payment of construction contracts, his illicit gains are estimated to be around 700,000 baht.

The arrest took place in front of Sing Buri Wetchakarn Hospital in the tambon Bang Man of Mueang district. The officials from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACD), the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) were behind the arrest.

The 58 year old mayor was subject to an arrest warrant issued on January 19 by the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases. The charges against him include taking bribes as a state official, dereliction of duty, and abuse of power to demand assets or benefits.

The arrest is the result of a complaint lodged by a subcontractor who was awarded 18 construction contracts worth a combined 5.4 million baht (US$150,827) by the Talad Noi administration in June last year. The subcontractor alleges that Prachum demanded a bribe amounting to about 12% of the total contract value, summing up to approximately 700,000 baht (US$19,551), reported Bangkok Post.

The subcontractor, fearing potential complications in contract execution, claims to have provided an initial payment of 150,000 baht (US$4,190). The remainder was to be paid post-completion of the first contract, which involved improvements to the tap water system. The subcontractor used around 500,000 baht of his funds to cover the project costs. Yet, after the completion of the project, Khwanmuang allegedly refused to approve the budget for the work unless the remaining bribe was paid.

The mayor reportedly demanded an additional 200,000 baht beyond the original 40,000 baht that was due. Deeming this unfair, the subcontractor escalated the matter to the ACD.

The ACD police, after gathering the necessary evidence, procured a court warrant for Prachum’s arrest. However, during the interrogation, the mayor vehemently denied all accusations. Following this, he was handed over to the ACD sub-division 1 police for subsequent legal proceedings.

Crime NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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