City governor faulted for misusing central fund to launch the “Motif of Light” project

The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) has faulted Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra and eight other city officials of misusing the City Hall’s central fund for the “Motif of Light” or light tunnel project for tourism promotion.

Auditor-General Phisit Leelawachiropart told the media on Tuesday that the central fund was meant to be used for emergency or necessary project only and the “Motif of Light” project did not have the consent of the city council and, hence, the use of the central fund for the project was unlawful.

He said that the investigation also found out that the top administrators of the City Hall and some officials concerned appeared to favour the contractor which won the contract and that there might be a collusion in the bidding process.

Also, the 39.5 million baht price tag for the project was overstated and the actual cost should be about 29 million baht, said Mr Phisit.

He went on saying that even if the city administration had not paid the contractor it was unlikely that the City Hall could accept the project from the contractor. However, he insisted that damage had already done to the state because of the alleged misconduct in the project implementation.

For the next step, the auditor-general said he would report to the interior minister about the findings and would propose that a fact-finding probe team should be set up to consider disciplinary and criminal actions against the governor and eight other officials.

Mr Wasant Meewong, the governor’s personal secretary, said M.R. Sukhumbhand was not worried with the OAG’s probe result because the case was not over yet.