Chinese submarine deal to be probed

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BANGKOK -The Association of Organizations for the Protection of Thailand’s Constitution has filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman against Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Leuchai Ruddis for proceeding with the purchase of a Chinese submarine without taking public voices into consideration.

The Secretary-General of the Association of Organizations for the Protection of Thailand’s Constitution, Srisuwan Janya said today that the agreement with China was made without consideration of public opinion and the current economic climate.

Under the agreement, Thailand will buy the first S26T submarine from China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. Ltd.. Srisuwan claimed the move was inappropriate given the country’s financial situation and the slow economic growth.

She further added that the purchase agreement could be in violation of the Budget Procedure Act. The Secretary-General also said the purchase of the Chinese submarine must first acquire parliamentary and public approval as required by Section 178 of the Constitution.

Srisuwan said the failure to obtain such approvals would be considered a violation of the charter. The Office of the Ombudsman is expected to deliberate on the matter before asking the Administrative Court to establish whether it was indeed unlawful.