The Department of Pollution Control will ask NVPSKG to reduce the 9.1 billion baht in compensation ordered by the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) for the Klong Dan waste-water project.
Wichien Jungrungruang, the department chief, said he will discuss with the NVPSKG consortium to try and reduce the department’s penalty. He said almost half of the ordered payment is a result of the 7.5% interest rate per year, and the department now wants the interest halted.
He also said he would discuss the penalty with the Ministry of Finance and that the department will file for 8.5 billion baht in compensation from three department officials who were involved in the case.
The SAC on Friday ruled in favour of NVPSKG and stated the department should pay the construction costs to NVPSKG as more than 98% of the project was complete. The court also said the contract between the department and the company was not nullified as the department had claimed.
The SAC ordered the department to pay the penalty to NVPSKG for the plant in Samut Prakan province, which originally cost 23.7 billion baht, within 90 days.
Mr Wichien said the case reflects failed governance.
“I hope it will not happen again. All projects must be carried out with transparency and without interference,” he told a press conference yesterday. He said he will find out when NVPSKG, which now manages the plant, will transfer it to the department.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dapong Ratanasuwan said
the huge amount of money already spent on the project should not be in vain.
He said the ministry will find out whether it was worth investing more money to run the plant. The project’s facts will be made public at the right time, and the culprits must be punished, he added.
Penchom Sae-tang, director of Ecological Alert and Recovery-Thailand, said the department must pay the fine and should also file a civil suit against Vatana Asavahame — the deputy interior minister at the time, who was convicted and given a 10-year jail term — and other officials for land fraud. Vatana fled Thailand before the court handed down the sentence.