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NACC to file lawsuits against masterminds behind HQ siege

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is gathering evidence to file a criminal lawsuit against those who masterminded the red-shirt siege of its headquarters last week.

In a statement yesterday, the NACC said it would find out if ministers or government figures in the caretaker government had ordered the siege, and if so, they could face criminal charges under Article 157 of the Criminal Code. The agency claims that it has a video clip showing certain ministers and government figures delivering speeches in Nakhon Ratchasima on February 23, seemingly ordering the red shirts to protest against independent agencies and courts.

The Community Radio Operators network, a faction of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), blocked the entrance to the NACC headquarters in Nonthaburi last Thursday in a move to stop the agency from considering a case against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in relation to the rice-pledging scheme.

Yingluck is accused of dereliction duty for failing to prevent corruption that allegedly plagued the scheme.

The red shirts have accused the NACC of unfair treatment and "double standards" for its investigation against Yingluck, while ignoring a similar probe against members of the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration.

An NACC source said the agency was prepared to deal with any future intrusions, by training its staff and introducing measures of safely evacuating the building.

Meanwhile, Yingluck's lawyer Norawich Lhalaeng yesterday called on the NACC to ask for copies of the evidence to be used against Yingluck. The NACC is expected to consider the request tomorrow.

The premier has until March 14 to defend herself.

In a related development, the Lawyers Council of Thailand will today file a petition with the Central Administrative Court against Yingluck and 12 other officials and agencies in relation to the scheme.

"We have acted on complaints filed by farmers who have not yet received payments from the scheme," the council's vice president Sunthorn Payak said.

The petition will ask the court to order that either rice is returned to farmers or they are compensated.


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