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Exploding the myths about "rice scheme corruption"

Re: "Mystified at Western reports on Thai crisis", Letters, August 18.

The letter from Harald Kontants contains two ludicrous and utterly false accusations. First, the writer claims that most of the nation's rice stocks disappeared into the pockets of government officials. No evidence is produced to support this accusation, which is hardly surprising, since the recent audit of rice stocks actually showed that only a small percentage was unaccounted for.

Second, the writer claims the Yingluck government "could not care less" about the plight of the unpaid farmers. In reality it tried desperately to pay the amounts due but was cynically prevented from doing so by obstacles deliberately put in its way by the courts, state agencies and PDRC demonstrators. Managers of financial institutions asked to provide loans to the government backed off because of concerns about legal action or other consequences.

The NCPO was, of course, able to quickly pay the sums due because it faced no such constraints.

By the way, I wonder what happened to all that money collected from the public by the PDRC, ostensibly to ease the suffering of the farmers - which, of course, was partially caused by PDRC actions? I do not for one moment wish to imply that the money might have gone elsewhere, but it would be interesting to know how it was disbursed. After all, it would only have amounted to a fraction of the total sum due, so selecting which farmers were to benefit would surely have been rather difficult. I wonder if any readers can throw some light on this matter?

Robin Grant

Bangkok


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