The Royal Thai Navy has dismissed widespread online criticism that it is wasting taxpayers’ money by building a 112m baht mansion as an official residence for its commander-in-chief.

Rear Admiral Apinan Poengsrithong, head of the Naval Public Works Department, told a news conference today (Thursday) that the building, which is now under construction, is to be the official residence of the navy’s C-in-C and serve as the RTN’s official accommodation for its VIP guests.

He said that the former official residence, located next to Wat Arun, or the “Temple of Dawn” on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, was built more than 30 years ago. Its concrete foundations were heavily damaged by the severe flooding in 2011. He said that repairs were too costly, hence the construction of a new building on the same spot.

Instead of just an accommodation for the navy chief, Rear Admiral Apinan explained that a hall to hold RTN social functions was added, because the navy does not have such facility, and there is a guest house to receive VIP guests.

He insisted that the 112,000,000 baht construction bill will be covered by the RTN’s budget allocated by the government.

“The building project is not a secret and it does not only serve as the official residence of the navy chief because he will not stay there regularly as he has his own house in Bang Na,” said the rear admiral.

Source