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Monday, January 14, 2008

Six groups to blame for King Power contract

AoT investigation uncovers irregularities

Airports of Thailand's (AoT) investigation committee has found six groups of people were involved in irregularities in the awarding of a contract to King Power Suvarnabhumi Co to run commercial space at Suvarnabhumi airport. The investigation team has confirmed that King Power Suvarnabhumi, a firm under King Power International Group, acquired the commercial space contract from AoT without undergoing scrutiny required under the Public-Private Joint Venture Act.

The law requires in-depth scrutiny of every state project worth one billion baht or more.

AoT board spokesman Chirmsak Pinthong said AoT will inform the company in writing that the contract is invalid.

AoT will then proceed to petition the Office of the Attorney-General to evict the company from the commercial space it occupies at Suvarnabhumi.

King Power Suvarnabhumi operates commercial areas at the new airport, while King Power Duty Free Co runs the duty-free shops.

The investigation team, headed by former national police chief Pol Gen Pratin Santiprabhob, has named in its report six groups of people allegedly involved in the contract irregularities.

The first group was the previous AoT board, chaired by then transport permanent secretary Srisook Chandrangsu, which awarded the contract to the company, allegedly breaching the joint venture law, said the report.

The second was the board's sub-committee to run and develop general affairs in the airport.

The investigation team accused the sub-committee of acting beyond its authority by allowing the company to build the City Garden building outside the airport's passenger terminal, which is not stated in the terms of reference.

The third was the AoT's revenue-handling committee, which is accused of negligence after allowing the company to make use of more space than indicated in the contract. It did not try to charge the company for using the extra area.

The fourth group included the committee which received the bids for the contract and the committee which selected the bidders.

The investigation panel said the company's bidding document had been tampered in a way that put AoT at a disadvantage. Also, nobody in the two committees could say where the missing important documents were being kept, the investigation team said.

The fifth group was King Power Suvarnabhumi and its management.

The AoT investigation committee alleged King Power Suvarnabhumi had concealed information to keep the official investment of the commercial space development below one billion baht, to avoid scrutiny under the Public-Private Joint Venture Act.

The sixth group was the consortium of consultant companies appointed by the old AoT board. The investigation team alleged these advisers tried to estimate the investment value of the project, which was not allowed under the contract. They also tried to put the investment cost below one billion baht, the investigation team said in its report.

The investigators also noted that then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, as chairman of a committee overseeing the development of Suvarnabhumi, and the transport minister and transport permanent secretary at that time might have been aware of contract irregularities

News from : Bangkok Post

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