Phuket Officials To Be Prosecuted Over Condo Project Construction

    MP Sira Jenjaka in Phuket

    Sira Jenjaka, Bangkok MP and Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights, yesterday revealed that the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has filed a formal request with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to prosecute Phuket officials over the construction of The Peaks Residences condo project in Kata, on Phuket’s southwest coast.

    The NACC will invite relevant parties to provide additional information, MP Jenjaka said during his visit to the island on 12th July.

    He also requested all people who have paid monies to the project developer as deposits or full payment for condominium units at The Peaks to inform the Commission on Legal, Justice and Human Rights.

    MP Jenjaka inspected the site, overlooking Kata Noi Bay, yesterday morning to confirm whether or not construction had been halted in accordance with a ban on all further building until investigations into the condo project had concluded.

    It had not. Construction had continued at the site despite the ban, MP Jenjaka said, adding to the long list of charges the project developer is now facing.

    MP Jenjaka repeated the case history of the project to the press while at the site yesterday, starting with the fact that the Nakhon Sri Thammarat Regional Administrative Court already handed down its verdict to revoke land document NorSor 3 Kor No. 1863 used to launch the project.

    “The NorSor 3 Kor was issued unlawfully and has been revoked by the Department of Lands. At this stage, the appeal is now being heard by the Supreme Administrative Court,” he said.

    MP Jenjaka added that the DSI had conducted its own investigation into the authenticity of the land document, and also found that it had been issued illegally.

    “Karon Municipality was responsible for suspending construction at the site, and for cancelling the construction permit,” he said.

    “Karon Municipality did not do that. Instead, they renewed the construction permit on the basis of holding B3 million as collateral [for any damages that might need correcting in the future]. They had no authority to do that,” MP Jenjaka said.

    MP Jenjaka also pointed out that the project was built on areas where the hillside slope is greater than 35°, which in itself is illegal.

    “Therefore, the action of local officials, especially Karon Municipality, can be considered as wrongdoing by official authority under the Criminal Code,” he said.

    MP Jenjaka also pointed out that he had been informed by local residents living below the site that the construction of the project had increased the risk of their homes flooding during heavy rains – another aspect he was in Phuket to inspect for himself.

    “The forest in the area has been affected by the condo project, where construction has not been suspended in accordance with an official order. People living in the lower areas are affected by landslides and floods,” he said.

    “When there is heavy rainfall, there are no trees to slow down the speed of water flowing downhill before it reaches public roadways and the beach below,” he added.

    “From our inspection, we found evidence of landslides and flooding. Some bricks from the construction site had even been found washed downhill,” MP Jenjaka said.

    MP Jenjaka earlier this month was acquitted of accusations that had interfered with local officials’ handling of the project.

    Seven out of eight Constitutional Court judges last week ruled that Mr Jenjaka did not do any wrongdoing in his highlighting of the investigation into the project, following a total of 57 MPs filing a request to terminate Mr Jenjaka’s status as an MP as he stood accused of breaching Section 185 (1) of the Constitution, which bans any MP from interfering with officials performing their duties.

    The names of the 57 MPs who signed the complaint were not publicly disclosed.