Ex-Police Chief Faces Charges Over Biometrics Procurement

A police source has disclosed that the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) intends to lodge accusations against Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, the former national police chief, along with three other top-ranking officers.

These charges are related to the 2.1-billion-baht procurement of biometric devices for the Immigration Police Bureau (IPB) in 2019.

A notification letter detailing these charges will be dispatched by the NACC to Pol Gen Chakthip and his counterparts, summoning them to present a defence before the final investigative report is drafted, as reported by the source.

The case surfaced when the secretary-general of the People’s Lawyers Foundation, Sittra Biabungkerd, urged the NACC to investigate into the biometrics procurement project after the purchased equipment was found not matching the terms of reference specifications.

The enterprise tasked with equipment provision was also incapable of delivering it in six batches to the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) within the stipulated 66 days by May 2, 2019, as mentioned in the agreement.

Despite these deficiencies, the RTPO approved the reception of the equipment and postponed the final handover date to June 30, 2019, thus saving the supplier from paying a daily fine of 5 million baht.

Alongside Pol Gen Chakthip, other implicated police officers include Pol Lt Gen Tinapat Phumarin, who was the commissioner of the Office of Logistics and endorsed the purchase.

Also involved are Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang, former IPB commissioner, and Pol Maj Gen Surapong Chaichan, who was the deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 7 and facilitated the supplier by extending the deadline.

In the following year, 2020, Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, who previously held the position of IPB commissioner and was an adviser to the RTPO at the time, was summoned by the NACC as a witness.

Pol Lt Gen Surachate stated that approximately 40 other individuals were also called to provide testimony.

Biometrics refers to the process of measuring and statistically analysing an individual’s unique physical and behavioural traits. This technology is primarily utilised for identification, access control, and tracking individuals under surveillance.