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PM yet to confirm appearance before NACC

CARETAKER PRIME MINISTER Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday she has not decided whether she will defend herself in person today before the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) over the rice-pledging scheme corruption case, or send her lawyer on her behalf.

The NACC is investigating the case before resolving whether to indict Yingluck on charges of alleged malfeasance and dereliction of duty for her failure to stop the rice-pledging scheme, which was allegedly rampant with corruption and led to a huge loss to the state.

NACC secretary general Sansern Poljiak yesterday said the NACC would not decide whether to indict the premier today.

However, he urged Yingluck to at least send her lawyer to submit her explanation in document form today and she could ask to give an explanation in person later.

Sansern said that after the explanation was submitted, the NACC would consider any request from Yingluck for it to make further |investigations and would decide on that in a meeting the following |day.

Yingluck said she had asked the NACC for an additional 15 days to submit her defence statement, after having already been granted an initial 15-day extension, but she was refused this time.

She said she had managed to get information about the charges from the NACC's 280-page case document on Thursday, so she ended up having only three days to study the document to defend herself against the charges.

Yingluck has questioned whether the NACC has treated her fairly, or in the same manner as other political office holders.

"We see that there was no progress in many other cases [involving NACC investigations]," she said.

"Some cases have almost reached the statue of limitations and some have lost it.

"Some cases see no progress because of a lack of documents but I have just been accused after a 21-day investigation and I was denied additional time to be prepared for the interrogation.''

Noppadon Pattama, on the committee for Pheu Thai Party's affairs, raised the following questions with the NACC in connection with the agency's accusations against Yingluck.

1. Why did the agency take more than five years to probe the case against Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva over the corruption allegation involving rice distribution and make no progress, while pressing charges against Yingluck after only 21 days?

2. Does the NACC want to bring about a swift prosecution against Yingluck by having a full NACC panel investigating the case instead of appointing a sub panel to do the job, as it normally does with other cases?

3. The NACC pressing charges of malfeasance and dereliction of duty against Yingluck shows that Yingluck had nothing to do with the corruption, so why is the agency pressing charges in the broad spectrum against her?

4. The NACC produced a 280-page document covering the charges against Yingluck and only three days before she is forced to make her defence statement. Is the time given to her too short?

5. Does the NACC carry out its duties fairly?

6. Why doesn't the NACC give Yingluck additional time to submit her defence statement, even though the NACC's decision in this case could result in her being suspended from duty?

Noppadon urged the NACC to give Yingluck ample opportunity to defend herself and rule in accordance with the truth, saying he |could not predict how the agency's verdict would impact on the country.

Democrat Party deputy leader Ongart Klampaiboon said Yingluck was not entitled to send her |lawyer to defend charges of malfeasance.

"She must defend herself in person, since she used her judgement in signing papers related to the rice-pledging scheme," he said.

"No one knows her mind or thoughts about the issues."

Ongart expects the political mercury could reach "boiling point" this month because independent agencies are finalising many cases against the government.


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