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Court gives PM 15-day extension in Thawil case

THE CONSTITUTIONAL Court yesterday granted the caretaker premier's request for a 15-day extension on the deadline for presenting her defence in the case involving the unlawful transfer of Thawil Pliensri as national security chief.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was scheduled to defend herself in the case last Friday. She sent her team of lawyers to submit a request to the court that she be given more time to prepare evidence.

The Constitutional Court statement said it was extending the deadline for the caretaker PM to testify in the Thawil transfer case to May 2. And the court has scheduled four witnesses to testify on May 6. They are: appointed Senator Paiboon Nititawan; caretaker Prime Minister and Defence Minister Yingluck; former police chief Pol General Wichean Potephosree; and Thawil.

Wichean replaced Thawil after the latter was transferred from his post at the NSC.

The four witnesses were ordered to submit their statements or related documentary evidence by April 29.

Meanwhile, the court rejected Yingluck's request to present three more witnesses: former deputy prime minister Pol General Kowit Wattana; caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung; and former deputy police chief General Ajiravid Subarnbhesaj.

In another development, caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach yesterday submitted to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) documents on the amount of rice in the government's warehouses under the rice-pledging scheme.

The move came after NACC member Vicha Mahakun's revelation that 2 million tonnes of rice under the scheme had gone missing.

Yanyong said the amount of rice is an important issue in the NACC investigation into Yingluck's alleged failure to stop the loss-making and corruption-plagued scheme.

The evidence that the complainants submitted to the NACC comprised a report from the post-audit committee chaired by Supa Piyajitti. He said the documents he submitted would counter the Supa committee's information, since her committee did not include 2.5 million tonnes and 2.977 million tonnes in the second and third rounds.

Bancha Porameesanaporn, Yingluck's attorney, also petitioned the NACC to review its decision and allow seven more witnesses to give testimony.

The seven are Chalerm; deputy police chief Pol General Worapong Chewprecha; caretaker PM's Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn; Federation of Accounting Professions president Pichai Chunhavajira; former NACC member Pol Lt-General Wichienchot Sukchotrat; Pheu Thai adviser Olarn Chaipravat; and rice expert Chai Watcharong.

The NACC had earlier rejected Yingluck's request for testimony from some of these witnesses, and had said last week that it would not accept more witnesses for her defence.


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