Published on January 11, 2008
And since it's a tradition to finish what we've started, today we will report the results of the auction.
Surprise surprise! Bidders avidly sought former Thai Rak Thai property. As of press time yesterday, the items, with a combined starting price of Bt1.3 million, fetched roughly Bt2.3 million on the first day.
Although there were plenty of small trinkets, the highlights were two Hino lorries that the party used during election campaigns. Well, Streetwise was wondering who would want to buy a couple used lorries and how much they would pick up at the end from the starting price of Bt450,000 each. And the winner is (drum roll) ...
Assajarn Ao-charos, a 55-year-old businessman. He managed to snatch up Thai Rak Thai's two Hino lorries by more than doubling the starting price to Bt1.015 million for the first and Bt1.01 million for the second.
Assajarn admitted his bids were higher than the market price but did not seem to mind. He does not even intend to use the lorries.
"I want to keep them as antiques, because they once belonged to the Thai Rak Thai Party," he said.
It was reported that Assajarn once submitted information to the Asset Examination Committee regarding alleged corruption in the purchase of 90 million rubber plants during Thaksin's administration. So, it's uncertain whether he's a Thai Rak Thai fan.
In fact, Assajarn almost lost the bid. He faced fierce competition from Manote Meewandee, a 46-year-old construction-company executive. Manote later threw in the towel, because he saw no point in upping the price any further for a lorry he meant to use for work, not save as memorabilia.
Auditor-General Jaruvan Maintaka observed the auction yesterday, its last day. She said the money would be used to reimburse the party's subsidy the Election Commission contributed to Thai Rak Thai. The money had to be returned in proportion to the number of months that the party had ceased to exist. Thai Rak Thai was supposed to return Bt4 million.
The winning bidders must place deposits of 25 per cent of the auction price, and full payment must be made within three days before ownership can be transferred.
Now that the future of the People Power Party (PPP), whose members come mostly from Thai Rak Thai, is hanging in the balance, due to allegations concerning PPP deputy leader Yongyuth Tiyapairat, the Auditor-General's Office may have to prepare to hold another auction. Knock on wood.