The National Anti-Corruption Commission has resolved to appoint a lawyer to file charges against five suspects accused of corruption in connection with City Hall's purchase of fire trucks and boats at a cost of 6.8 billion baht in 2004.The NACC previously implicated former interior minister Pokin Polakul, former deputy interior minister Pracha Maleenont, former commerce minister Watana Muangsuk, former director of the City Hall Fire and Rescue Department Pol Maj Gen Atilak Tanchukiat and former Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin in the alleged scam.
The commission forwarded the findings of its investigation to the Office of Attorney-General (OAG) and requested it to submit the case to the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions for indictment.
But the OAG rejected the NACC's request, saying the evidence uncovered by the commission was insufficient.Apirak: Signed deal under investigation.
The OAG and the NACC then set up a joint panel to work on the matter but they have been unable to reach a common ground.
That has prompted the NACC to appoint the Lawyers Council of Thailand as its solicitor to take over the role of filing papers to indict the five suspects from the OAG.
The council would file the charges against the five suspects with the court on July 25, said NACC secretary-general Apinan Issarangkura na Ayutthaya yesterday.
The allegation claims that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration procured 315 fire trucks and 30 fire boats at an inflated price.
The late former premier Samak Sundaravej signed the deal on Aug 27, 2004, the last day of his tenure as Bangkok governor. Mr Apirak, who succeeded him, signed the letter of credit.
In related news, Mr Apinan said after a NACC meeting on Thursday that the commission has found a number of former Pheu Thai MPs not guilty of flouting the 3,000-baht limit on gifts imposed by the NACC.
A number of former Pheu Thai MPs were accused of violating Section 103 of the NACC's announcement by accepting a gift worth more than 3,000 baht at a party on Dec 23, 2009.
Under this NACC regulation, senators and MPs are not allowed to accept gifts worth more than 3,000 baht.
Legislators caught breaking the rules could lose their seats in parliament and be jailed for up to three years.
The accused former Pheu Thai MPs only received car keys made of paper and foam at the party.
No actual car was delivered to those MPs, after there were concerns over the possibility that the NACC's regulation might have been violated, said Mr Apinan.
The NACC has also ruled on an inquiry conducted into claims that acting deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban and Thai Airways International president Piyasvasti Amranand had abused their power to force the airline to arrange two domestic flights between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son for Democrat and other coalition party MPs on Dec 1 last year.
The NACC found the allegation against the two groundless because the specially arranged flights were not reserved exclusively for the MPs.
Civilian passengers travelled on the same flights, said Mr Apinan.
The request by the government's whip for the special flights could not be deemed a violation to the NACC's regulations prohibiting cabinet members from abusing their power to help MPs in the coalition government earn benefits, said Mr Apinan.