Beach business sues Phuket official

PHUKET: An evicted beach business owner has filed a law suit against Cherng Talay Local Administration Organization (OrBorTor) President Ma-ann Samran for dereliction of duty (Section 157).

Kanokpon ‘Tony’ Somrak, owner of Tony Restaurant, which was saved from demolition after the Ministry of Interior stepped in at the last minute, brought legal action against Mr Ma-ann last month (story here).

“The case was reported to us and we did our preliminary investigation, confirming that Mr Ma-ann denied the allegations. We then passed the case over to the National Anti-Corruption Commission [NACC],” said Lt Col Rassada Kleungwong of the Cherng Talay Police. “I have no idea how long it will take them to wrap up the case.”

An officer at the NACC confirmed to the Phuket Gazette that the case was currently being worked on. However, he was unable to provide any further details.

Mr Kanokpon’s lawyer, Lapat Karnwijit, explained that the construction of the restaurant had started without the permit in 2013. Then on December 15, the Cherng Talay OrBorTor sent a notice asking that construction be stopped and a letter requesting the building permit be submitted within 30 days.

“My client paused construction and filed the letter on December 23. However, we never received an update. When we followed up, the OrBorTor said that three unknown men had presented themselves at the office and withdrawn the letter, which is just unbelievable.”

The restaurant opened in January and received the demolition order that same month. However, the Navy-backed demolition was put on hold by request of the Ministry of Interior, to give additional time for the land ownership document supplied by Mr Kanokpon to be reviewed. Local government officers allege that the NorSor 3 Kor document presented was voided about 30 years ago.

Nonetheless, Mr Ma-ann denies that he has neglected his duties.

“A representative for the owner came to the OrBorTor Office and filled out the building permit form. Our staff received the form and gave him a stamped document proving that the request was received,” Mr Ma-ann said.

“Right in that moment, the representative took back the building permit form – so there was nothing actually filed in our system.”

“I wasn’t ignoring their request. I simply never received it, and nothing can be done if it’s not submitted.”

— Nattha Thepbamrung

Phuket News

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