Phuket Governor and Vice Governor deny million baht bribe accusation

Recently, an audio clip went viral, claiming to have recorded a conversation between an anonymous man and an employee from a project accused of having encroached on Sirinat National Park (in Phuket’s north west).

Phuket Governor, Pakkapong Tawipat, says that he had nothing to do with the voice recording, which detailed a 7 digit negotiation deal to end an encroachment case over the encroachment case.

Phuket Hotnews reports that, in the recording, the voice of an anonymous man can be heard calling the employee of a project owner, who had been charged over land encroachment.

The man on the phone asked for a 7 digit amount in order to drop the case, mentioning that the person who would sign on the case would be the Vice Governor Supot Rodruang Na Nongkhai, and that the Governor was aware of the matter as well.

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The voice clip reveals the conversation between the anonymous man and the female employee of the illegal project, “Have you reached a conclusion? Everyone is waiting for the answer”, while the employee replied that she already informed her boss that the money they wanted is in the millions, but her boss questioned why do they have to pay and where the money is going to go.

“Is it for the Governor? And who sign the papers?”

The man replied that Vice Governor Supot is the one who signs and that he knew about the negotiation and that there were 2 documents drafted in different ways.

The man also mentioned the name of a Phuket provincial Prosecutor and claimed that the prosecutor is very powerful as he had extended powers from the new laws enacted by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

The man also said that if they face any issues, the owner of the project would be blacklisted and it would be difficult for him to travel to and out of Thailand.

The woman on the line proceeded to make an appointment for her boss to meet with the ‘prosecutor’.

After the voice clip went viral, Governor Pakkapong said that he was made aware of the recording of the conversation earlier this month and that he had asked Vice Governor Supot, who was accused of bribery in the clip as well, to make a report to the police on August 6, in order to prove their transparency. He also reported the matter to his commander.

“I insist that the Vice Governor and I have nothing to do with the voice recording and we were falsely accused as being involved. This could have come from an individual from a “certain organisation” (un-named) that has called for bribes and used Governor’s and Vice Governor’s names for their benefits.

“After reporting the matter to the police we are waiting for an investigation and to see whether I have to take part as an informer,” said the Governor.

He said that the encroachment case is an old case from 2013. The Thalang District Chief has an agreement to prosecute the encroacher but when the case went to the provincial prosecutor, the prosecutor declined to prosecute the case and sent it back to Police Region 8.

The Police Region 8 sent the case back to Phuket provincial attorney office who would have to file the case to the Phuket Governor, but he insists that the case has not been filed yet.

The Phuket Governor said that he also informed the company that owns the project that he has never learned about the bribe and in any case, if anyone uses his name to ask for bribe, please contact him immediately because he has never asked for bribes and is ready to work on every case openly.

Meanwhile, Phuket Vice Governor Supot said that he has already reported to the police about the accusations in the voice recording and insists that he has nothing to do with it either.

SOURCE: Phuket Hotnews

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