Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has decided to file corruption charges against former national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda and 45 other individuals and legal entities over the procurement of 260 “smart” electric police patrol cars during the 2019 fiscal year, worth about 900 million baht.
NACC Secretary-General Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said yesterday (Tuesday) that all 46 individuals and legal entities have 15 days to submit their statements to NACC officials after they receive notification of the charges.
If they are not able to do so within the deadline, they can ask, in writing, for the postponement of the submission of their statements, he added.
The case was raised with the NACC by Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, while he served as the commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, following an incident on January 7th, 2019 when his car was shot at by an unknown gunman.
Surachate suspected that the shooting might be related to his ordering of an investigation into the Royal Thai Police’s project to procure a biometric identity verification system, worth about 2.1 billion baht.
The biometrics project is the first phase of the Royal Thai Police’s plan to modernise the Thai police force through the procurement of modern technology. The “smart” police patrol car is the second phase of this project.
Surachate also asked Pol Gen Chakthip to cancel the patrol car project, claiming that it had been delayed for a long time.
An investigation by the NACC shows that the Royal Thai Police, under Pol Gen Chakthip, awarded the contract to supply the 260 patrol cars without calling an open bid, resorting to a selection process instead. Also, no fines were imposed on the company when it failed to deliver the cars within the contractual deadline.