Opposition MP Jatuporn Promphan yesterday accused the government of colluding with the military to “rob Thailand” in regard to the purchase of Swedish jet fighters.
He said six additional Gripen fighter planes would be bought for Bt16 billion, or Bt2.66 billion each. But the politician claimed the price for each aircraft was Bt1.2 billion higher than the price the Swedish government had offered to Romania.
“The purchase is paid with a tied-in budget for five years. This is corruption in daylight,” said Jatuporn, a Pheu Thai Party MP and also a key leader of the anti-government red shirt movement.
He said he didn’t think the government would buy a second fleet of Gripen fighters after the first was bought at a high price by the post-coup government headed by General Surayud Chulanont.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday the permanent secretary for defence, General Apichart Phenkitti, told him the relevant military agency would offer an official explanation about the matter.
In response to the claim the jet fighters were bought at a higher price than similar purchases by another country, he said details of the purchase deals should be taken into consideration, such as whether additional equipment and training costs were included.
“Every government project is subject to scrutiny,” the prime minister said.