Published on August 14, 2007
Deputy Bangkok Governor Panit Wikitset said yesterday the supplier's bank in Austria had already received the money from the Bangkok Bank, with which Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has opened a letter of credit for the Bt6.68-billion deal.
The due date for the second instalment was August 11.
On Sunday, an Assets Examination Committee (AEC) member warned BMA of "consequences" if it paid another Bt743 million for fire-fighting equipment purchased in an allegedly corrupt deal.
"At this point, we believe the Bangkok Bank will take Bt743 million out of the BMA bank account in the coming week," Panit said yesterday.
He said the process to settle the payment was in line with the letter of credit conditions.
"But if the AEC or Interior Ministry issues an official objection against payment of the second instalment, we may ask Bangkok Bank to suspend any move to take the money out of our bank account," Panit said.
He said the first instalment had also been suspended for three months.
However, Panit said the BMA had already approved payment of the second instalment, based on the fact that despite the ongoing inquiry, the agreement to purchase the fire vehicles remained effective.
An AEC subcommittee earlier concluded there were grounds to believe five former and incumbent officials acted corruptly in preparing the fire-vehicle deal, estimated to have cost taxpayers Bt1.9 billion too much.
However, relevant authorities have yet to cancel the deal.
The Interior Ministry oversees the BMA, which purchased the fire vehicles based on the agreement of understanding signed by then-interior minister Bhokin Bhalakula and a former Austrian ambassador to Bangkok.