OAG slams Pattaya’s former leaders for wasteful spending

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The Office of the Auditor-General said Pattaya’s former elected leaders wasted public funds by duplicating projects such as neighborhood cleanups and youth football tournaments.

Ex-City Councilman Rattanachai Sutidechanai – who on June 29 was named a tourism and event-planning advisor to acting Mayor Chanapong Sriviset – met the same day with the Bureau of Social Development and Pattaya City Community Association to discuss the remonstrative letter sent by the OAG ordering budget alterations to eliminate wasteful spending.

Ex-City Councilman Rattanachai Sutidechanai.
Ex-City Councilman Rattanachai Sutidechanai.

Rattanachai previously chaired the Tourism and Culture Committee of the Pattaya City Council which, like former Mayor Itthiphol Kun­plome, saw its term expire June 16 and was replaced by military-appointed leaders.

Among the city-funded initiatives the OAG said were duplicative and wasteful were the Pattaya Community Football project, which the auditor said duplicated the mission of the city’s Sports Day; and the Nice Frontyard project, which overlapped Pattaya’s regular Big Cleanup project.

The football projects both aimed to create good relations among community members while the cleanup projects were too similar, but still were allocated separate budgets, the OAG said.

The city Bureau of Social Development and the Community Association conferred on how to adjust the 2016 budget to eliminate the redundancy and bring Pattaya’s budget into compliance with the OAG’s directives.

Rattanachai, who sat on the council that approved the contested budgets, defended the initiatives, saying they were split between the community affairs and internal activities by the government organizations.

While they may appear duplicative on the surface, the ex-councilman said, all the projects were considered good coordination between the government and private sector.

Rattanachai, who served eight years on the city council, accepted a position to work another four years as the acting mayor’s tourism advisor, although Chanapong – the city’s permanent secretary – is not expected to remain in office that long, as the National Council for Peace and Order has promised elections and a return to democracy next year.

City hall said he will play a large role in meetings of the NCPO-appointed governing board in organizing projects, resolving issues and similar work as he did while on the city council.