RTN investigates alleged corruption in 440 million baht armoured vehicle deal

Photo: Royal Thai Navy

A thorough investigation has been initiated by the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) after a social media page reported some alleged discrepancies in a recent purchase of armoured vehicles totalling over 440 million baht (US$12,480,000).

The public announcement about the investigation came yesterday when Admiral Pokkrong Monthatphalin, the RTN spokesman, stated that the navy commander, Choengchai Chomchoengpaet, had ordered a probe after an accusation made by the Facebook page, CSI LA. The social media post alleged that certain RTN personnel demanded a kickback totalling 15% from the supplier of the vehicles.

Admiral Pokkrong confirmed that the RTN has a project that aims to procure seven 8×8 wheeled armoured personnel carriers. These are to be manufactured by Chaiseri Metal & Rubber Co and carry a price tag of 448 million baht (US$12,700,000).

The project fund has been allocated from the fiscal year 2023, starting from October the previous year and will end on September 30 this year. The supplier is required to deliver the purchased vehicles within a timeframe of 270 days.

The request for approval for the procurement of these vehicles is pending with the Defence Ministry, clarified Admiral Pokkrong. The procurement has undergone rigorous scrutiny by various authorities, such as the Anti-Corruption Cooperation Committee for state procurement, and was even supervised by an independent observation panel. RTN spokesman, Admiral Pokkrong said…

“All procedures have been carried out keeping in mind transparency and open to scrutiny. The mention of a 15% kickback in the social media post is unfounded.”

Nopparat Kulhiran, the founder of Chaiseri Metal & Rubber Co, dispelled the allegations levelled against her company as baseless. She stated that the claims were designed to tarnish both the reputation of her company and the RTN.

She urged the administrator of the Facebook page to reveal the source of their information to validate their claim. Nopparat said…

“As a company, we pride ourselves on good governance and transparency in all our business dealings. It’s distressing to see these false allegations.”

As per her statement, the company has been serving the government defence and security sectors since 1968 and also providing maintenance services. Most of the company’s revenues, she informed, derive from exports rather than domestic sales.

“We have supplied our products to the Thai military for close to five decades, and our reputation extends beyond Thailand.”

In a stern message, Nopparat warned that she wouldn’t hesitate to take legal action against the CSI LA Facebook page and any media outlets disseminating false information. Nopparat said…

“In the interest of fairness, media outlets are requested to verify the veracity of any information before broadcasting it. If any damage is done to the company’s reputation, I will not hesitate to exercise our rights and take lawful action to protect it.”

In related news, In honour of Her Majesty Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana’s upcoming birthday, officials from the RTN organised a tree-planting event in Phuket. To read more click HERE.

Thailand 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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