Government agencies ordered to pay £9.6bn compensation for Klong Dan project

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Thailand’s Pollution Control Department (PCD) and Ministry of Finance have lost the legal battle to avoid paying 9.6 billion baht in compensation to a consortium of companies for the Klong Dan sewage treatment project , plagued by corruption, in the province of Samut Prakan.

On Monday, the Supreme Administrative Court overturned the Central Administrative Court’s decision to order a retrial of the case, during which an arbitration board ruled in January 2011 that the government should compensate NVPSKG, a consortium of six companies responsible for building the treatment plant.

The court said the request, by the PCD and the Ministry of Finance, for a retrial of the case lacks new evidence, oral or documentary, to warrant a retrial. The court also ruled that the Ministry of Finance was not a party to the legal dispute between the PCD and the consortium and therefore had no right to request a new trial.

Since the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court is final, this means that the PCD or the government will have to pay the consortium the compensation, as initially decided by the arbitration committee.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders has found former deputy interior minister Vatana Asavahame and a handful of senior PCD officials guilty of embezzlement in the line of duty.

The controversial sewage treatment project was approved in 1995. It was to be the largest treatment plant in Asia, with the capacity to treat water discharged from Samut Prakan factories at the rate of 525,000 cubic meters per day.

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