Tambon mayor in Saraburi province allegedly demanded 12% bribe in 18 construction contracts
The mayor of a municipality in Saraburi province has been arrested on charges of demanding and accepting bribes of 12% for approving payment of construction contracts, earning him about 700,000 baht.
Prachum Khwanmuang, mayor of tambon Talad Noi municipality was arrested in front of Sing Buri Wetchakarn Hospital in tambon Bang Man of Muang district on Tuesday by officials from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACD), the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
Mr Prachum, 58, was wanted on an arrest warrant issued on Jan 19 by the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases, accused of taking bribes as a state official, dereliction of duty and abusing his authority to demand assets or benefits.
His arrest followed a complaint by a subcontractor awarded 18 construction contracts with a combined worth of 5.4 million baht by the Talad Noi administration in June last year. He alleged Mr Prachum had demanded a bribe of about 12% of the 18 projects, about 700,000 baht in total.
Fearing there might be problems while doing the work if he did not pay, the subcontractor said, he handed over 150,000 baht as a first payment, with the remainder to be paid after finishing the first contract.
The contract was for tap water system improvements. He used about 500,000 baht of his own money to cover the cost. After it was done, the mayor refused to sign his approval for a budget for the work, he said.
Mr Prachum allegedly demanded the subcontractor pay the remainder of the bribe before he would sign off on the work.
As he had earlier used his own money to pay for the work, the remaining sum of the bribe he had to pay would have been 40,000 baht. However, the mayor allegedly demanded that he pay 200,000 baht more.
The subcontractor saw this as unfair and took the case to the ACD.
ACD police gathered together the evidence and subsequently obtained a court warrant for the mayor’s arrest.
During questioning, Mr Prachum denied all charges. He was handed over to ACD sub-division 1 police for legal action.