Ex-PM Thaksin, Suriya off the hook in CTX9000 scam

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BANGKOK, Aug 28 – Thailand’s  National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) voted unanimously to clear former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and then transport minister Suriya Juengrungruangkit from corruption charges in the procurement scandal of CTX9000 bomb detectors for Suvarnabhumi Airport.

However, a subcommittee was set up to investigate a former permanent secretary for transport, Srisuk Chandrangsu, and five other people for alleged bribery in the case.

Vichai Vivitsevi, chairman of the NACC inquiry sub-committee, said the NACC received 5,000 pages of documents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to complement earlier investigation documents, consisting of 560 pages, supplied by the Assets Examination Committee.

He said NACC members unanimously agreed that there was insufficient evidence to charge ex-premier Thaksin, former transport minister Suriya and 25 others in the state and private sectors in the CTX9000 bomb scanner matter.

Outspoken NACC member Klanarong Chantik, formerly a member of the now-defunct Assets Examination Committee, asked to be excused from investigating the case.

Some of the six people to be further investigated by the NACC sub-committee are board members of the New Bangkok International Airport (NBIA). There was evidence that they went to San Francisco on an expense-paid observation trip sponsored by CTX9000 dealers.

Mr Vichai insisted that there was no reason for the NACC to help ex-premier Thaksin since the investigation committee was not appointed by him.

“We have sufficient evidence to come up with this conclusion,” he said.

The scandal erupted when the US authorities revealed that Patriot Business Consultants bought CTX bomb scanners from InVision Technologies at a cost of Bt1.504 billion, but quoted a price of Bt1.832 billion to ITO Joint Venture, contractor for Suvarnabhumi Airport.