Ex-Meteorological Department chief sent to prison for 3 years and 4 months

Former Director-General of Thailand’s Meteorological Department, Mr. Suparoek Tansrirattanawong, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison today, without suspension, by the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases. He was found guilty of malfeasance in office in connection with the department’s procurement of a super computer, which did not meet the contractual specifications.

Mr. Suparoek was earlier found to be at fault by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, for allegedly causing damage to the department by approving an out-of-court settlement between the department and the supplier of a super computer, Technology Operation Group Ltd., under which only 4.3 million baht in compensation would be paid to the department, instead of 242.5 million baht plus 70 million baht interest, as demanded by the department.

According to the NACC, Mr. Suparoek assigned his then deputy, Mr. Chalermchai Ekkarntrong, to negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the supplier, on behalf of the Meteorological Department.

In convicting Mr. Suparoek, the Court said that, even though there was no evidence that the former department chief had received any ill-gotten gain from the supplier, his conduct in approving the substantial cut in compensation was a clear indication that he intended to help the company.

The Court initially handed down a five year sentence on Mr. Suparoek, but commuted the sentence to three years and four months, without suspension, for his useful testimony during the trial.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)