Marine Dpt probes alleged bribe taking by officials from a Japanese firm

The Marine Department has set up a committee to investigate officials of the department suspected of having received bribes, totaling 20 million baht from a Japanese company to facilitate the transport of equipment for the Khanom power plant project in Surat Thani.

The department head, Mr Chirut Wisarnchit, said he expected a result of the probe within a week and he asserted that anyone implicated in the alleged bribe taking would face serious disciplinary action from the department as well as criminal charge to be undertaken by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Japanese media reported that Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems which won the contract to supply power generating equipment to the Khanom power plant in Surat Thani was under investigation by the Japanese prosecution office on charge of unfair competition for allegedly paying bribe amounting to 60 million yen or 20 million baht to Marine Department officials to facilitate the transport of the equipment to the power plant.

Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand secretary-general Mana Nimitmongkol said that the 20-million baht alleged bribe money was just a fraction of the graft money.

Expressing concern that only the “small fries” will be penalized in this case, he urged the department to probe private companies implicated in the controversy as reported in Japanese media.