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NACC to probe PM's role in ministers' speeches

THE NATIONAL Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has the right to interrogate caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for allegedly failing to stop two ministers from provoking an uprising and introducing separatist sentiments, NACC deputy secretary general Witthaya Arkompitak said yesterday.

The NACC has set up a panel to investigate Yingluck over a complaint filed by Democrat Party legal expert Wiratana Kalayasiri.

In his complaint, Wiratana alleged that Yingluck had committed malfeasance and dereliction of duty by failing to stop caretaker Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan and caretaker deputy Commerce Minister Nuttawut Saikuar from inciting red-shirt supporters to commit the unconstitutional offence of trying to divide the country. Both ministers took to the stage at a red-shirt rally in Nakhon Ratchasima on February 23 and allegedly called on the red shirts to take up an armed struggle to intimidate independent agencies.

In reaction to this, caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung wondered how Yingluck could be held responsible for what Charupong said, as she was just a member of a political party of which Charupong was the leader. Also, he claimed that the Criminal Code could not be applied to Yingluck because she was not an "official under the penal code".

However, he said he backed the military's complaint against those who supposedly called for secession.

In response to questions about a photograph of red-shirt leader and PM's deputy secretary-general Suporn Atthawong with a group of "volunteers supporting secession in Sakon Nakhon", Chalerm said Suporn was just "having fun".

Meanwhile, Witthaya said the anti-graft commission could take recourse under the NACC Act to conduct an investigation of Yingluck.

Separately, Yingluck has until March 29 to provide her defence statement before the agency can decide whether to indict her for allegedly failing to avoid losses from the rice-pledging scheme, which critics say is plagued by corruption.




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