Author Topic: Korat MP & Cost of airship in question  (Read 592 times)


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Korat MP & Cost of airship in question
« on: June 04, 2010, 05:19:43 PM »
Cost of airship in question

The army is to be asked to explain how much it is paying for an imported surveillance airship, after house committee hearings uncovered conflicting price estimates.

The lower house committee on military affairs wants the army to explain discrepancies in figures provided by its deputy chief and a customs official called to testify yesterday.

The controversial airship has been imported by the army to carry out patrol and surveillance work in the lower South.

The craft was to have been delivered last August. A full formal handover has been delayed repeatedly because of problems in fulfilling the purchase contract on the part of the supplier.

The opposition-dominated house panel, chaired by Puea Thai Party MP for Nakhon Ratchasima Somchai Phesprasert, yesterday summoned Rattapon Martpong, a Customs Department technical official, to discuss the purchase of the airship.

Mr Somchai quoted Mr Rattapon as saying the actual price of the airship was 54 million baht.

The figure contradicted what deputy army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha had told the National Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr Somchai said.

Gen Prayuth told the NACC the airship was valued at 112 million baht, he said.

The army says the airship and its accompanying equipment will cost 350 million baht altogether.

The panel chairman also questioned the army's hasty approval of the airship delivery even though it had failed a standard flight test and some of the equipment did not function properly.

He would also seek an explanation from the army as to why it did not fine the airship supplier, US company Aria International, for an eight-month delay in delivery.

The company has received 270 million baht of the overall 350 million baht purchase price, Mr Somchai said.

Bangkok Post