In a continued pursuit of justice, the Anti-Corruption Police visited the office of the embattled Mayor of Bang Kaeo, a quaint town in the southern region of Thailand, in a surprise second search and seizure operation. This comes as a sequel to the recent startling arrest of the esteemed Mayor, Nathapong Taengsuwan, for veiled solicitation of a staggering 1.5 million baht.
Presiding over the Bang Kaeo municipality, Mayor Taengsuwan found himself at the wrong end of the law for allegedly turning his office into a bazaar of sorts. His discretional price? A sizable kickback amounting to 13 million baht in exchange for the green light to mount a rather extravagant LED screen installation project.
In a desperate bid to ward off potential prosecution, the once revered public figure allegedly attempted to discard 1,560,650 baht in hard cash in a bid to ‘clean’ his ledgers. All these unfolded on a fateful day marked in every Bang Kaeo calendar as September 22.
Heading the Anti-Corruption police unit, Police Major General Sombat Malai unveiled that upon apprehending the Mayor and subjecting him to a round of intensive questioning, charges of “being a state official performing or ignoring duties for personal gain” were brought against him. Pleading innocence, the besieged Mayor was able to secure a temporary release, cushioned by a hefty cash bond of 400,000 baht.
As wheels of justice continue to grind, the investigative team finds itself with a 30-day window to fortify their case with compelling evidence and testimonies before presenting it to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
As General Sombat intimated, the hunt for more witnesses and irrefutable evidence rages on with the urgency it deserves. In continuation of this drive, an executive order was issued to probe Mayor Nathapong’s workspace tucked within the Municipality office. The Mayor’s office, which has since his arrest been a no-go zone to non-essential staff, was swarming with investigators digging for pertinent evidence.
Reliable sources intimate that the officials were able to secure crucial documents during the raid while several potential witnesses were quizzed. A close associate of the Mayor let slip that the elusive leader seems to be under the weather, having submitted a sick leave form earlier. His precise location, however, remains an intriguing mystery.
Moving forward, the scope of the investigation is set to widen, encompassing contracts and budget allocations that the suspect may have influenced or manipulated. As the saga continues to draw national attention, Thai citizens harboring suspicions of corrupt dealings between state officials and sketchy ‘godfathers’ keenly follow the unfolding drama.
In response to citizens’ concerns, the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) launched a comprehensive survey to delve into popular opinions regarding the case. More on this developing story and other topical issues can be accessed HERE from Thaiger’s up-to-date Facebook page.