“Prayut” – finding a real culprit comes first, compensation for “Hopewell” comes second.
The payment will be made for sure, but only after finding the responsible person. Minister of Transport stated that the reason that the compensation was delayed because it is in the process of investigation for tort and finding responsible officials, as order by Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Hopewell Project, a scandal in which the dispute has been dealt by an arbitration against Thai Government. On 22April 2019, Central Administrative Court has enforced the award from the arbitrator that State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has to compensate for 25.411 billion baht from 30 September 2008, which is the day that the award was passed, to April, 2019. But as of now, Thai Government has not compensated anything and still finding a solution on lawful terms.
Saksayam Chidchob, Minister of Transport, stated that Transport Ministry will not pay for the compensation yet, because it is still in the process of investigation for tort and finding responsible officials, by the order on 9February 2021 by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to form the investigation team to find responsible person. Transport Ministry is also in the process of waiting for the Constitutional Court ruling, following the petition by Transport Ministry to Office of The Ombudsman Thailand to investigate the statute of limitations in the Hopewell case that should be calculated from the day the Administrative Court was founded, which was 9 March 2001. This calculation is, however, contradicted with Act on Establishment of Administrative Courts and Administrative Court Procedure, B.E. 2542 (1999), which stipulated that the statute of limitations commenced on the first known day the dispute in the case is known.
“The process of a tort lawsuit, under Section 10 – paragraph 2, is now complete with the Supreme Administration Court’s verdict. It is the duty of SRT to find a responsible person” Saksayam added.
THAC’S NEWS & ARTICLES
Therefore, Transport Ministry has appointed Chayatham Promsri, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Transport, as a head of culprit-finding team. The first meeting will be on 25February 2021. The team will investigate for any relevance person on the case, the estimation of the damages occurred to Thai Government that a person must compensate, then submit a report to the Cabinet. It is also a duty of Transport Ministry to issue a notice to the responsible party, as same as in the case of Rice Mortgage Scheme. Constitution Court had schedule the consultation session and the date to vote for the verdict on 17 March 2021.
Hopewell Project is one of the mega projects that the government has co-invested with a private sector. The cabinet has approved Transport Ministry to start taking action on 19 September 1989, and cooperate with SRT and Hopewell (Thailand) limited who won the auction on 9 November 1990. The project started during the term of Gen. Chatchai Chunhawan as the Prime Minister, and Mr. Montree Phongpanich as the Transport Minister. Many governments after have been struggled to push forward the project due to the funding problem.
Until 30 September, 1997, during the term that Gen. Chavalit Yongchaiyut was the Prime Minister and Suwat Liptapanlop as the Minister of Transport, the project has been forced to stop, and the Cabinet approved to terminate the contract. The project has entered the litigation proceeding after that and on 20 January 1998, the Cabinet meeting under the lead of Chuan Leekphai has voted to terminate the contract after it was constructed for 7 years, with 13.7% progress.
However, Thai Government have only 2 ways to settle the compensation in the Hopewell case.
1. Wait for the ruling of the Constitution Court. The information has indicated that a count of the statute of limitation is in conflict with the Constitution in Section 3 Paragraph 2, Section 188, and Section 197, in which it has illegality. It is also an unenforceable action, as stated in the Constitution Section 5 Paragraph 1 and a person whose right has been violated is entitled to enforce his constitutional right, as stated in Section 25 Paragraph 3 of the Constitution.
2. By finding the culprit in according with the Wrongful Liability of Officers Act Section 10 Paragraph 2. The Act has prescribed the rights to claim for compensation from the liable officers, as prescribed in Paragraph 1. The statue of limitation in this event shall have 2 years starting from the day that the government known of such violation and the responsible officials.
Nonetheless, Transport Ministry and SRT are still has to obey with the award from the arbitration tribunal. They have to indemnify Hopewell (Thailand) limited for 11.888 billion baht, with 7.5% interest, within 180 days after Supreme Administration Court has delivered the verdict.
For more updates and news, pleas follows; www.thac.or.th