OAG claims corruption in dredging of artesian wells

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Over 100 million baht in government budget allocated to the Groundwater Resources Department for the dredging of artesian wells to combat drought has been siphoned off by corrupt officials.

The alleged corruption was reported to General Surasak Kanchanarat, minister of natural resources and environment, by the Office of the Auditor-General. The report alleged that the corrupt officials charged between 10-30 percent in under-the-table commissions from the contractors to undertake the dredging of artesian wells.

In return, the contractors normally overcharge the department to recoup their commission payments to the corrupt officials.

The OAG also uncovered forgery of documents and some of the corrupt officials had left the services.

Commenting on the OAG’s report, Minister Surasak said he had ordered the setting up of a committee to investigate the alleged corruption. He maintained that the OAG did not clearly specify there was corruption in the dredging of artesian wells but only reported that there might be inflated travelling expenses and per diem.