Former commerce minister Watana Muangsook today defended the Thaksin Shinawatra administration over alleged involvement in the Rolls Royce bribery scandal.
Watana posted on his Facebook page saying the Thaksin cabinet did not give approval to the purchase of Boeing and Air Bus planes using Rolls Royce jet engines under Lot 3.
His defense of the defunct Thai Rak Thai party-led administration headed by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra came after the independent Issara News Agency exposed the Thaksin cabinet’s approval of the huge 96,000 billion baht aircraft procurement scheme of the national flag carrier Thai Airways International in November 2004. A total of 14 planes were on the scheme to purchase.
The news agency said the approval was given by former transport minister Suriya Juengrungruangkit at the time when former banker Thanong Pitaya was THAI board chairman and Kanok Apiradee was former THAI president. It also said 4% brokerage fee had been paid by Rolls Royce to former THAI executives and cabinet ministers.
between 1991-1992; the second lot, 336 million baht, between 1992-1997; and the third lot, between 2004-2005, 254 million baht.
In his Facebook, Watana explained that the Thaksin cabinet was not involved in the 254 million baht bribery for the Lot 3 purchase of Boeing and Air Bus aircraft using Rolls Royce jet engines as the specifications of the engines was technical issue that was fixed and purchased solely by THAI with no need to obtain cabinet approval.
He said the Thaksin cabinet gave approval to the purchase scheme as the budget needed for the purchase was enormous or up to 96 billion baht which THAI needed to seek loans to finance the scheme.
The engine type and specifications were what THAI decided by itself as it was technical issue which the cabinet could not get intervene.
He said he chose to only clarify Lot 3 purchase because it implicated himself.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)