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DSI agrees to probe relief supplies irregularities claims

Posted by arnon_k On November - 15 - 2011

The Department of Special Investigation has agreed to look into alleged irregularities involving procurement of relief supplies for flood victims.

A petition was lodged by deputy permanent secretary for the interior Pracha Terat to investigate allegations involving the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said his deputy Pol Col Narat Sawettanant has been working with the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) to investigate the allegations. The probe team will be headed by Thanin Prempri.

He said the agency would accept the matter as a special case if there is sufficient evidence found to back up the allegations.

Mr Tharit said all concerned parties, including private firms which were contracted to provide relief supplies, will be summoned to give statements.

He said the inquiry may date back to the procurement of relief supplies during the tenure of the Democrat-led administration.

“We don’t want any allegations that the probe targets the Pheu Thai administration. We want the probe to be comprehensive,” he said.

Mr Pracha said the Interior Ministry has set up an investigation team but decided to seek the DSI’s intervention to ensure transparency.

The move follows Democrat MP Wilat Chantarapitak’s criticism of the government’s handling of the flood crisis during last week’s House meeting.

Mr Wilat claimed the procurement of 100,000 relief supply bags worth 800 baht each was approved on Oct 19, the same day that the contracted firms issued invoices.

The procurement order was signed by a deputy director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, instead of the head of the department.

It was reported that the procurement was authorised by Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit in his capacity as chair of the Flood Relief Fund.

Meanwhile, Mr Yongyuth has ordered changes to the subcommittee on flood relief supply management.

Deputy permanent secretary for commerce Rachen Potjanasunthorn has replaced Chamroen Yutithamkul, inspector-general attached to the PM’s Office, as the subcommittee head.

The order to change the subcommittee was signed on Nov 9 as the alleged irregularities surfaced.

It is reported the change was made upon the order of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

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