Thursday, 13 March 2008

Bangkok governor steps aside from work during corruption probe

BANGKOK, March 13 (TNA) – Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin has suspended his role amid a corruption probe regarding a controversial fire truck and boat procurement.

The charge was pressed against him, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, and four other persons by the Assets Examination Committee (AEC).
Mr. Apirak said he will submit a letter to the AEC for more details about the charge on Thursday, he said adding that he was ready to clarify himself as he had worked with prudence and transparency since he took the post in September 2004.

Speaking about the controversial fire truck and boat procurement, he said he had referred the case to the Interior Ministry in its role as endorser of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and set up a committee to consider whether or not to honour the contract.

The suspension will allow him to acknowledge the charges and ensure to the public that there will be no intervention in the scrutinising processes.
"It's (both) my personal standpoint and (that of) the Democrat Party. I talked to Abhisit (opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva). That's the sign of an ethically guided politician, one who is ready to step back from his role until the final verdict is reached without waiting for any request from the public," he said.
Mr. Abhisit said that the Democrat Party has followed up this matter and he confirmed that Mr. Apirak is concerned about the benefit to the public.

Mr. Apirak had raised questions regarding the firetruck and boat procurement contracts.

He talked to many officials and had received confirmation from all agencies that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) needed to proceed with the contract, or otherwise the BMA would be sued.
The case involves the purchase of 315 firefighting trucks and 30 boats at what is alleged to have been an inflated price of Bt6.7 billion. Mr. Samak was governor at the time of the purchase and Mr. Apirak later signed a letter of credit. (TNA)-E004