Everyone know the Ministry of Transport is a cash cow for officials and their ministerial bosses. It has been that way for a very long time. Add on transport infrastructure and the whole area is awash with cash and corruption.
Who can forget the case of Supoj Saplom that came to light in late 2011. As floods bore down on Bangkok, Supoj worried that all of his ill-gotten gains might get water-logged, so he had all of his cash moved to an upper-level room in his house. When a gang of tipped-off burglars found the loot, there was so much cash they claimed they couldn’t carry it all away. One of the blue-collar crooks claimed the gang found 700 million to 1 billion baht in cash stuffed into bags.
The story of the white-collar crook’s loot was a sensation for a while and then faded. He was alleged to have accumulated the money as permanent secretary at the Ministry of Transport and chairman of the State Railways of Thailand. Earlier he was Director of the lucrative Highways Department.
The burglars were all jailed. Supoj was convicted of something and jailed for 10 months, but presumably was bailed awaiting an appeal. We can’t find anything else in the media records post-2017.
Which reminds us: What happened to all those “investigations” into Rolls Royce engines at Thai Airways and PTT’s commissions?
What causes all this reminiscing about corruption? It is a Kyodo News Agency report in the Bangkok Post about Japanese executives being charged over bribes to a Thai official of the Ministry of Transport.
The report states that the “Yokohama-based Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd was exempted from prosecution, three former executives were indicted without arrest on allegations of bribing a Thai public servant” over a power plant project.
The Japanese “allegedly paid 11 million baht in February 2015 to an unnamed official of the Transport Ministry in Thailand to speed up clearance of cargo related to a local power plant project…”.
It might have been more as the report states the “three accused executives had placed an order for a fictitious local construction project to raise off-the-books funds to pay the 20 million baht requested by the ministry official…”.
No bribe and the official would have delayed clearance of the goods for ages and the company would have lost millions.
Will we hear more about this? Probably there will be a bit of huffing and puffing from the junta and then things will likely fade away like the Rolls Royce and other cases under the junta.
What happened to that other case of “borrowed” luxury watches?