Thai court tells 2 to pay $36M in fire truck graft
BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai court on Wednesday ordered a former Cabinet minister and a former prime minister’s widow to pay $36 million to the city of Bangkok after corruption inflated the price it paid for fire trucks and boats made abroad.
The Central Administrative Court ordered former Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Maleenont and the widow of former Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej each to pay 587 million baht ($18 million), or 30 percent, of the damages the city incurred.
The order came a decade after the city purchased 315 fire trucks and 30 fireboats from the Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch for 6.69 billion baht ($207 million). Samak was Bangkok’s governor at the time, and his widow inherited his wealth after he died in 2009.
Last October, the Supreme Court sentenced Pracha to 12 years imprisonment and a Bangkok fire department chief to 10 years in jail for malfeasance in public office and price fixing. The pair fled and are the subjects of arrest warrants.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission, who filed the case to the Supreme Court in 2011, said the deal gave significant benefits to the Austrian company and the prices were much higher than for comparable equipment produced in Thailand.