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Court Finds Suthep Not Guilty Of Collusion Over Police Station Project
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2022
The Supreme Court On Tuesday Found Former Yellow-Shirt Leader Suthep Thaugsuban And Five Others Not Guilty Of Corruption Over A Failed 5.8-Billion Baht Police Station Project.
The court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Office said the defendants were not guilty of malfeasance under the Criminal Code’s Articles 151 and 157. This verdict cannot be repealed.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission had slapped Suthep, five others including former acting national police chief Pol General Pateep Tanprasert, and construction firm, PCC Development and Construction, with collusion charges in December 2021.
Before the verdict, Suthep told the press that accusatory headlines sparked by the opposition’s attacks had prompted NACC to take the case.
“But I have provided evidence to prove that I’m not guilty,” he said, adding that he respects the court’s verdict.
Suthep said this case had been hanging over him like a sin for the past decade, but his honour and dignity will return if the court finds him not guilty.
“But if the court finds me guilty, my job as a politician will come to an end because I have no new evidence,” he added.
The case dates back to 2009 when the Abhisit Vejjajiva government earmarked 5.8 billion baht to build 396 new police stations and residences across the country. Suthep, as deputy premier at the time, awarded the project to the single bid winner, PCC Development and Construction.
However, the contractor abandoned the project leaving many police stations unfinished and officers nowhere to work from.
The case was first aired by opposition politician Chuwit Kamolvisit in 2012 and picked up by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) the following year.
It was then handed over to NACC, which eventually took the case to the Supreme Court.