A woman shows the document explaining the corruption of Klong Dan waste water treatment project in 2004. (Bangkok Post file photo)
The Pollution Control Department has admitted it is unable to pay compensation of up to 9.1 billion baht to the NVPSKG consortium for the Klong Dan waste water treatment project in Samut Prakan on schedule.
The Supreme Administrative Court in November ruled the department must pay compensation to the consortium, which won the contract to build the waste water treatment project, as the contract was revoked when construction was more than 90% complete.
Department chief Wichien Jungrungruang said he has told the Department of Legal Execution that his agency cannot pay the consortium since the negotiation process has not yet ended. He said the department needs to wait to find out the actual amount it has to pay first.
“Although there is a slim chance of a lower payment, we have tried to do our best to save the country’s money. We expect to get a final answer from the consortium by the end of this month,” he said.
He said the department has been trying to convince the consortium to reduce the interest amount, which is around four billion baht. It has also asked the consortium not to charge 1.5 million baht a day for payment delays. According to the court order, the department must pay the compensation to the consortium by tomorrow.
The department previously lost arbitration proceedings with the consortium. The arbitrators told the department to pay the consortium as it found the contract to be legal. A final court ruling was handed down last year saying that payment to the consortium had to be made.
Mr Wichien said the department expected to inform the cabinet about the actual payment amount next month.
Although the consortium won the case, it and several other parties face criminal cases regarding alleged fraud. The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its ruling on a case concerning alleged corruption in land purchases for the waste water plant this year. If the consortium is found guilty of graft, it must pay compensation to the state agency, Mr Wichien said.
He also said the department has set up a panel to determine who should take responsibility for the compensation which the department has to pay following the court ruling, especially those involved in the order to terminate the contract, including former department chief Apichai Chawacharoenpan.
The findings would be used to take those people to the civil court, he said.