Customs officials are investigating whether the supplier of the NGV buses for Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, the city bus operator, has evaded import taxes.
Bestrin Company won the bid to supply more than 800 Chinese-made buses which were assembled in Malaysia to the city bus operator. But Super Zara Company imported the buses into Thailand with the first lot of 99 buses already arrived at Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Chon Buri.
Customs Department deputy director-general Chaiyuth Kampoon said on Tuesday that two lots of buses –one bus for the first lot and 99 buses for the second lot – had arrived at Laem Chabang port but the numbers and the models of the two lots are similar.
He pointed out that import tax of the buses were 40 percent if they originated from China, but if they originated from Malaysia, the tax would be zero.
He said customs officials had delayed the release of the buses from Laem Chabang deep-sea port pending investigation into the origin of the buses. He noted that officials were suspicious that the assembly plant in Malaysia had the capacity to assembly 100 NGV buses within just a week after arrival in Malaysia from China.
Mr Chaiyuth further said the department had sought cooperation from their Malaysian counterpart to check whether the buses were actually assembled in Malaysia as claimed by the Thai importer.
He made clear that the importer must post a 4 million baht surety for each of the buses if it wanted the buses to be released from the port.
Meanwhile, Deputy Transport Minister Omsin Chivapruek said that BMTA might cancel the deal with Bestrin if the company fails to deliver the buses within December 29.