Secret tape sparks corruption probe

PHUKET: Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi has ordered the Chief of Kathu District to investigate allegations of corruption in the Patong Municipality and has pledged to establish a committee of inquiry if the allegations appear to have foundation. The allegations were made by former mayor Pian Keesin, now in opposition in the Council. On Wednesday, at an extraordinary meeting in the Patong Municipality offices, K. Pian attempted to play an audio tape which, he claimed, showed that a senior member of the council had received a 3-million-baht bribe from a company involved in construction of the town’s new 295-million-baht wastewater system. K. Pian was about to play the tape when the chairman of the meeting ruled him out of order following a protest from another council member, Raksak Nuechet. K. Pian said the tape, recorded secretly, was of a conversation between the council member and a representative of the construction company. Current Mayor Surasak Maneesri told the Gazette today, “I haven’t heard the tape yet, but I don’t think there is any reason to cheat [the public] by taking money from the company. “According to the contract the project was to be finished by February 6. And now the company is being penalized 310,000 baht a day until the project is finished,” the mayor said. He added, “I think this is more a matter of local politics. It’s normal to have conflict between the ruling team and the opposition.” Gov Pongpayome said today that it might be possible to have the Forensic Science Department of the Royal Thai Police examine the tape. Speaking in general terms about corruption, he said, “In the past I believe that there has been corruption but we’ve never had any hard evidence. It’s the right thing to do, to speak out when there is corruption.” Neither the councilor nor the construction company could be contacted for comment today.

Phuket News
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