Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc (STEC) has again come out strongly against the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC)’s accusation that the company and some of its executives bribed state officials to obtain permission for oversized vessels to unload heavy equipment for the Khanom IV power plant at a temporary jetty near the construction site in Nakhon Si Thammarat province.
The construction company insists it has never been involved in or supported corruption of any type and adheres to strict anti-corruption measures according to the principles of good governance. It also expressed confidence that it can find evidence to prove the allegation is false and will fight to the end.
Finding grounds to counter the accusation is a preliminary investigation, not the final, and does not mean the company supports any wrongdoing, STEC noted, adding that the company is innocent until a final court ruling shows otherwise.
On Wednesday, Warawit Sukboon, NACC secretary-general said in a statement that STEC executives assisted in the wrongdoing by four state officials in demanding Bt20-million in bribes from a Japanese company, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (Thailand) Ltd (MHPS) for temporary use of the jetty to unload heavy equipment for the Khanom IV power plant.
NACC began the investigations in November 2017, gathering evidence in the country and Japan.
A consortium of STEC and the Japanese firm was contracted to construct Khanom IV power plant, a power unit of Khanom Electricity Generating Co Ltd (Kegco), in Nakhon Si Thammarat province. Kegco is a subsidiary of Electricity Generating Plc (Egco).
In February 2015, three vessels were not allowed to use the dock due to their size and four state officials called for a bribe of Bt20 million from MHPS in exchange for permission, according to the NACC’s findings.
MHPS executives then decided to pay the bribe as the company would have been fined 40 million Japanese yen or about Bt11 million a day if the power-plant construction fell behind deadline as a result of delays in delivery of the heavy equipment for the construction, the NACC said.
It was found that two STEC executives, the company’s president Pakpoom Srichamni and vice president of the operations department Rakesh Kalia, supported the four state officials, drawing up employment contracts for them but not actually employing them to allow STEC to prepare the Bt20-million bribe which was handed to the Japanese firm at STEC’s head office and, later, delivered to the four state officials, the NACC said.
The four officials, Cdr Sathit Chinnavorn, director of Nakhon Si Thammarat Marine Office; Khanin Muangduang, deputy mayor of Thong Nian Subdistrict Municipality; Apichart Sawasdirat, village head of Moo 8 in Thong Nian subdistrict; and Pol Lt Col Santipong Phansawat, inspector at Marine Police 4, are accused by the NACC of receiving the bribe.
The NACC suggested Khanin be dismissed from his position as deputy major of Thong Nian Subdistrict Municipality and the other three state officials receive severe disciplinary charges, while the two STEC executives should face criminal charges for aiding the bribery of state officials,
The findings will be forwarded to the Office of Attorney-General to proceed the legal cases against the seven accused.
After the NACC’s statement, the STEC share price plummeted 3.35 per cent or Bt0.60 to Bt17.30 in the afternoon trading session on November 13 and closed the day at Bt14.40, down 19.55 per cent or Bt3.50.
STEC rose to Bt15.10 when today’s morning session opened, trading at a high of Bt15.10 and a low of Bt14.20.