Pollution Control Department opposes Thailand’s Klong Dan waste water plant arbitration ruling

Construction News

The Pollution Control Department will challenge a ruling awarding multi-billion-baht damages to the consortium which built the Klong Dan waste water treatment plant in Samut Prakan.

The department filed papers with the Administrative Court last month asking it to overturn a ruling by one of its arbitration panels in favour of the consortium, said Supat Wangwongwattana, the department director-general.

It also placed 11 million baht before the court as an administrative fee to withdraw the arbitration order, handed down in January. An arbitration panel ruled that the department must pay six billion baht plus interest of three billion baht to the NVPSKG consortium, after it completed work on the plant and transferred ownership to the department.

The committee found the department breached its agreement with the consortium after the consortium transferred the completed job to the department, but the department refused to pay.

The department signed a contract in 1997 with the consortium to build the waste water plant.

But the department later decided to scrap the contract, accusing the consortium of contract fraud and deceiving the state into buying public land.

It lodged a lawsuit against the consortium and 19 other people, including former deputy interior minister Vatana Asavahame, accusing them of corruption.

In November 2009, the Criminal Court ruled that Vatana and 10 other defendants, including consortium executives, colluded to sell public land to the department to fraudulently secure rights to the project.

The others were cleared of the charges.

Vatana, who was sentenced in 2008 by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to 10 years in jail for bribing officials to obtain the land, fled the country.

He was given an additional three-year jail sentence in absentia in the 2009 court rulings.

Mr Supat argued that the arbitration panel’s ruling was unclear, as it did not say why the department had to pay compensation to the consortium.

Mr Supat argued the contract with the consortium was nullified after one company in the consortium withdrew from the joint venture group.

“We reaffirm that we won’t pay any compensation to the consortium even though we received two letters from the arbitration committee demanding it,” he said.

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/237889/dept-opposes-klong-dan-ruling

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