Decaying rice, loss of stock and disorderly stacking of sacks has been found at several government and private warehouses in military-supervised inspections of rice.
This was in line with a nationwide investigation into corruption in the rice-pledging scheme initiated by the Yingluck Shinawatra government, PM’s Office permanent secretary ML Panadda Diskul said yesterday.
Officials found involved in stock going missing or other wrongdoing would face immediate transfer and serious disciplinary probes, after checks by more than 100 teams of government and military-appointed inspectors are done in a month’s time, Office of Public Sector Anti-corruption Commission secretary-general Prayong Preeyajit said.
Panadda said scientific checks such as DNA tests of the entire rice stock – millions of tonnes – would also be conducted, but these may take until September before a complete set of evidence is revealed against any wrongdoers.
Warehouse bosses ‘accountable’
The amount of rice in good quality and where it is stored would be reported to the Commerce Ministry for future sale to interested buyers.
“The warehouses with decaying rice or loss of stock will be held responsible,” said Panadda, who is overseeing the overall military-supervised inspection effort.
In Sukhothai, inspections were conducted at two warehouses where a large number of irregularities were found, before inspections at other warehouses were called off so that inspectors could be better prepared.
Disorderly stacking of rice sacks had been found, which was not common. Actual running numbers of sacks were inaccurate and different from those indicated in official lists, according to civilian and military officials in neighbouring Phitsanulok who conducted the inspections.
There are 15 rice warehouses in Sukhothai, containing 2,542,010 sacks, or 2,542 tonnes. The inspectors expect to complete the count by July 25, and another month to determine and report the quality of seeds.