FORMER MP and graft-buster Chuwit Kamolvisit today (Feb. 24) went to the Transport Ministry and sprayed a cleaning solution around the complex but did not submit any evidence on alleged corruption surrounding Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand’s (MRTA) Orange Rail Line, Matichon newspaper said.
He told the media that he did not submit the evidence to the ministry because the officials there were involved in the bidding for this rail line in the first place.
He added that he would submit the evidence to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha through the government’s complaint centre to investigate the selection of the private sector investor and also Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.
Construction contracts were signed on Feb. 9, 2017 between MRTA and CKST Joint Venture consortium. Construction finally started in June 2017 with a 1,980-day construction period and a scheduled opening in October 2022. Project construction is divided into four contracts. The eastern section’s new planned opening date is 2023, Wikipedia said.
When fully completed, the MRT Orange Line will be 35.9 km (22.3 mi) long with 29 stations, seven will be elevated for 8.9 km (5.5 mi) and 22 will be underground for 27 km (16.8 mi)), including an interchange with the current Thailand Cultural Centre MRT Blue Line station.
The line is divided into two sections; the 22.5 km (14.0 mi) eastern section from Suwinthawong to Thailand Cultural Centre and the second phase, 13.4 km (8.3 mi) western section from Thailand Cultural Centre to Bang Khun Non.
Later Mrs. Suksomruay Wanthaniyakul, secretary to the Transport Minister, Mr. Chayatham Phromsorn, the ministry’s permanent secretary, and Mr. Phakphong Sirikantaramas, MRTA’s governor, criticised Chuwit for not submitting the evidence as earlier revealed to the media.
Suksomruay said the Transport Minister was not present to welcome Chuwit because he is currently travelling in Surin and Buriram provinces and assigned her to receive him.
She added that Chuwit did not submit evidence on alleged transfer of 30 billion baht in Singapore and if he had done so she would have revealed it to the media. However the ministry is giving him time to do so later.
She also warned that Chuwit could be sued for what he is currently doing while pointing out that the whole process is already in the courts.
Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC), the operator of Bangkok’s Skytrain, had asked the court to suspend the second round of bidding for the Orange Line’s extension. The company alleged that the bidding was so designed to prevent it from winning and help a particular consortium bag it instead.
However the Central Administrative Court has dismissed BTSC’s petition to suspend the bidding.
Former MP Chuwit Kamolvisit at the Transport Ministry today, Feb. 24, 2023. Photos: Matichon