Summoning Representatives from 65 Companies
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in Thailand has called for questioning representatives from 65 companies who may have been involved in bid-rigging with Praween Chanklai’s construction business. Praween, also known as “Kamnan Nok,” was arrested following the murder of a Highway Police officer during a dinner party at his house.
Arrest and Murder Allegations
Praween was apprehended in the Muang district of Nakhon Pathom after Pol Maj Sivakorn Saibua, an officer of Highway Police Division 2, was killed by a gunman at a dinner party in Praween’s home. The gunman, Thananchai or “Nong Tha Pha” Manmak, was identified as Praween’s close aide and later died in an extra-judicial killing. Praween denied ordering the murder, claiming it was not an act of revenge for the officer refusing a transfer request for his nephew, who is also a policeman.
Background on Praween’s Construction Businesses
Praween inherited his construction business from his father, a former headman of Tambon Takong, who established the P Raweekanok Construction Company. The company won several road, building, and bridge construction projects and provided canal dredging and rental services in Nakhon Pathom and neighboring provinces. Praween later set up another company, the P Phatanarungrod Construction Company.
Potential Violations and Financial Discrepancies
The DSI’s Division for Offences Relating to the Submission of Bids to Government Agencies is investigating Praween’s two construction companies, P Raweekanok Construction Company and P Phatanarungrod Construction Company, for potential violations of regulations on bid submissions for government agency projects. Financial analysts found abnormal account balances compared to the annual statements submitted to the Department of Business Development.
Since 2015, both companies have won bids on 1,300 government projects valued at over 70 billion baht. However, the companies’ assets are reportedly worth only 100–200 million baht.
Questioning of Companies and Unusual Financial Transactions
DSI has issued warrants to 65 companies that had bids on highway projects in 2017 for questioning next week due to identified bidding issues. Furthermore, a potential financial transaction between Praween and the gunman has been uncovered, with unusual money transfers involving several police officers present at the party when the shooting occurred.
Related Incident: Suicide of Sivakorn’s Commander
In a separate incident, Pol Col Vachira Yaothaisong, Sivakorn’s commander, was reported to have committed suicide after traces of gunshot residue were found on both of his hands, according to national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas.