Two ‘fire truck’ defendants given heavy jail terms for corruption

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BANGKOK, Sept 10 – A Thai politician and former senior official of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) were sentenced in absentia by a local court to 12 years and 10 years in jail, respectively, today for corruption in the purchase of fire boats and trucks from an Austrian company in 2004.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ruled that Pracha Maleenont, former deputy interior minister, and Pol Maj Gen Athilak Tanchukiat, former head of the BMA’s Disaster Prevention and Relief Department, were found guilty in the purchase of fire-fighting boats, trucks and equipment, worth Bt 6.686 billion, for BMA.

The court acquitted three other defendants including Bhokin Polakul, former interior minister, Wattana Muangsuk, former deputy commerce minister, and Apirak Kosayothin, former BMA governor.

The lawsuit against the Austrian supplier Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug AG was temporarily deferred by the court.

The court issued a warrant for Mr Pracha who failed to appear in court on August 6 and today, and confiscated Pol Maj Gen Athilak’s bond and ordered him to appear before the court on October 16 to hear the verdict.