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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Suriya must explain corruption allegations

An Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC) sub-committee probing alleged irregularities in an electrical power cable-laying project related to Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi international airport has ordered former transport minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit to provide more information by next Wednesday, according to sub-committee chairwoman Jaruvan Maintaka.

Khunying Jaruvan said the deadline was set after Mr. Suriya failed to appear before the sub-committee on Thursday (Oct 25) to defend himself regarding charges of alleged corruption in connection with the project.

Instead, the former transport minister assigned his personal secretary to carry a letter to the sub-committee saying that he would be willing to testify, but asked to postpone his appearance for 10 days, said Jaruvan.

Rejecting the longer postponement, the sub-committee agreed to delay the hearing only until Wednesday (Oct 31), but if Mr. Suriya fails to report at that time the sub-committee would interpret his action as indicating non-compliance regarding the panel's request for more information regarding the charges, she said.

Khunying Jaruvan said the sub-committee already has sufficient evidence in hand and that the probe could be concluded by the end of December and forwarded to the courts for prosecution.

Mr. Suriya, who was concurrently a deputy prime minister in the former government of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, is also being investigated for alleged irregularities in three other projects, including the Suvarnabhumi airport CTX bomb detector procurement, as well as similar concerns regarding construction of the new airport's rail link and the rubber sapling purchase scheme. (TNA)

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