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Marine Department probes Bt20m Japanese bribery claim

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Marine Department probes Bt20m Japanese bribery claim

By Attayuth Bootsripoom, 
Natthapat Phromkaew 
The Nation 

 

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The Marine Department has launched a probe into an allegation that one of its officials received about Bt20 million as a bribe from a Japanese firm.

 

“We expect the probe to conclude within seven days,” the department’s director-general, Chirute Visalachitra, said yesterday.

 

The allegation surfaced after the Japanese firm told Japan’s public prosecutors that one of its employees had paid 60 million Japanese yen – or about Bt20 million – to a Thai civil servant after the latter demanded a bribe to let the company unload plant equipment.

 

The payment, reportedly made in 2013, is a crime both in Thailand and Japan. At that time, the Marine Department was headed by Sorasak Saensombat, while Chatchart Sitthiphan was the Transport Minister.

 

Chirute disclosed yesterday that the allegation was linked to the Khanom power plant project. 

 

“We have already set up a fact-finding committee to determine how a Marine Department official got involved in the scandal. What role did he or she play? We would have to check if the permit granted by the said official was in line with laws and regulations,” Chirute said. 

 

He said the official, if found guilty of receiving a bribe, would face a harsh punishment. 

 

He said the probe by the Marine Department was separate from an investigation handled by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). 

 

Chirute said his department could conduct a separate probe and take disciplinary action, independent of the NACC concluding its investigation. 

 

Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn, who inspected the Marine Department yesterday, said a temporary pier had reportedly been set up to transport equipment for the power plant. 

 

“Following the transport, the pier was removed,” he said. 

 

Neither Chirute nor Pailin mentioned the name of the Japanese firm. 

 

However, it was reported in Japanese media that the firm involved was Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, which reported the bribe payment to Japanese public prosecutors in 2015 after receiving a tip-off from a whistle-blower. 

 

Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan yesterday said that the allegation was not related to the bidding for building the power plant.

“It’s related to the importation of some equipment,” he said. 

 

He refused to elaborate, saying that he needed time to review relevant information first.

 

NACC secretary-general Warawit Sukboon said his agency had collaborated closely with the Japanese authorities in conducting the investigation into the scandal. “Our investigation is already more tan 80 per cent complete,” he said. 

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30350431

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2018-07-20

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I presume the investigations on this might move forward if they can link it to Chadchart who was rumoured to be high up in the PTP. 

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Set up another committee OMG ! Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan yesterday said that he refused to elaborate, saying that he needed time to review relevant information first. Is that like giving some time to buy an air ticket to freedom ?

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"Face a harsh punishment"

 

 Is that a 500 baht fine or transfer to an inactive position?This person is likely at a high level so unlikely to be any adverse findings

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5 hours ago, webfact said:

The Marine Department has launched a probe into an allegation that one of its officials received about Bt20 million as a bribe from a Japanese firm.

This headline is written in such a way that it suggest it was an evil and corrupt Japanese company that was offering a bribe to an honest and virtuous Thai civil servant .

In fact the truth of the matter seems that a highly corrupt Thai civil servant servant was extorting money from an ethical Japanese company.

That seems more like the norm for any given Thai civil service department. And here we are 3 years on and still the investigation is only 80% completed. Sounds much like the extorer was a high ranking official. 

5 hours ago, webfact said:

".....a Thai civil servant after the latter demanded a bribe"

I just love the Thai vernacular. "Demanding a bribe" in any other country is called extortion. Just like Thai traffic police ask for a bribe, right?

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7 hours ago, smutcakes said:

I presume the investigations on this might move forward if they can link it to Chadchart who was rumoured to be high up in the PTP. 

And so it should be.

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What always gets me in situations like this is why the Japanese company din't cry foul at the time ?   Surely, if they had screamed 'Extortion' as soon as the demand was made and named the person to both Japanese and Thai Authorities then the guilty party would have been caught red handed.  By going along with it and paying the money they are aiding and abetting the crime !

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There will need to be a bribe paid in order to get this investigation underway. And then a few to move it through the legal investigative process, and the bribes will need to be big enough to counter the ones provided by those being investigated! 

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