Roughly 40 highway officers suspected of participating in a scheme involving the acceptance of payoffs from unlawfully overloaded vehicles, through the issuance of “bribe stickers,” are set to be reassigned to non-active roles.
This announcement was disclosed by Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat Pankaew, the Counter Corruption Division (CCD) Commander, on Thursday.
Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat, in his temporary role as Highway Police Division (HPD) leader, declared that the implicated individuals include both commissioned and non-commissioned staff up to the position of lieutenant colonel.
These individuals are slated to be assigned temporary duties at the HPD this week, he added.
In the meantime, the Office of the Inspector-General (OIG) of the Royal Thai Police is being encouraged to speed up its investigation into the issue within a 15-day timeframe.
As per Pol Gen Visanu Prasarttong-Osoth, a police inspector-general, disciplinary action as well as legal proceedings will be taken against any officers found to have participated in the corrupt practices.
These declarations followed the submission of evidence related to the case to the OIG by Move Forward Party (MFP) MP-elect Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn and Land Transport Federation of Thailand (LTFT) chairman Apichart Prairungruang on Thursday.
Mr. Wiroj, who initially exposed the situation via his social media channels last week, stated that the evidence was assembled from the LTFT and public members.
He reported positive reactions from the OIG and the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) concerning the evidence and is currently depending on the police to delve further into the matter.
However, Mr. Wiroj voiced apprehensions about the police’s handling of a case that casts a shadow on their image.
He suggested they might resort to blaming the truck drivers or attributing the issue to the trucks being “accidentally overweight”, especially those exceeding the legal limit by up to 200 kilograms.
Mr. Apichart revealed that this is the first instance in two decades that the OIG has been made aware of such bribery.
In response to an open letter sent by some LTFT members to the MFP this week, expressing their dissatisfaction over the federation’s perceived lack of transparency, Mr. Apichart expressed his desire for a dialogue with them.