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Whistle-blower expects inspections of rice warehouses 'to yield evidence'

ONGOING rice warehouse inspections by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) are expected to deliver crucial evidence related to alleged rampant corruption in the failed rice-pledging scheme, said former Democrat MP Warong Dechgitvigrom.

Warong, who blew the whistle on the scheme a few years ago, said on his Facebook page that he expected positive developments from the inspection process that officially started yesterday.

"The National Anti-Corruption Commission [NAAC] is handling two big cases about the scheme," he said.

According to Warong, one case is against ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra while the other is against several former Cabinet members and many big-name rice traders.

The Yingluck-led government initiated the rice-pledging scheme, which was mired in massive corruption allegations and incurred huge financial losses before the NCPO scrapped it.

The NACC has already recommended that Yingluck be impeached. The government led by her Pheu Thai Party lost power following a coup in May.

PM’s Office permanent secretary Panadda Diskul is overseeing the inspection of warehouses that participated in the rice-pledging scheme.

The inspections will look into both the quantity and the quality of rice.

It will take about 100 committees, each spearheaded by senior officials, to inspect about 1,800 warehouses and 137 silos.

Officials from the Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO), administrative officials, surveyors and soldiers are helping with the inspections.

Yesterday, the inspections officially began. PM's Office inspector-general Orawan Khumsap led an inspection at a warehouse in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

"We have collected some rice samples for a quality check," Orawan said, "And we will cross-check the quantity of rice we have found here with the information at the Cooperative Auditing Department."

PWO officials, soldiers and related officials checked a warehouse in Buri Ram as some 3,000 tonnes of rice there must be exported.

During the check, officials found that some rice had deteriorated in quality because it had been kept there too long.


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