It has been reported that the former Bangkok Governor, Bhichit Rattakul, has denied taking bribes or abusing his authority when buying land at an inflated price 13 years ago. Mr Bhichit and several former high-ranking city officials, including then City Clerk Prasert Samalapha, have been indicted by the Criminal Court.
The lawsuit states that Mr Bhichit allegedly bought several blocks of land in Bang Sue district between December 1995 and September 1997 to develop a parking area for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to house its garbage trucks, water trucks and other vehicles.
He and other officials were accused of buying the land through a special method whereby only one offer was considered. The public prosecutor claimed the BMA bought the 11 rai at a highly inflated price of 36.8 million Baht more than the market price. Mr Bhichit approved the purchase for 270 million Baht.
The lawsuit also alleges Mr Bhichit demanded 18 million Baht in bribes from the landowners and their broker. Mr Bhichit is reported to have told the Bangkok Post that he is innocent.