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Rice-pledging Scheme

Yingluck allowed to submit further evidence to fight charges

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra can submit more evidence or propose more witnesses in the rice-pledging scheme case within 30 days, deputy spokesman of the Office of the Attorney-General said yesterday.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) yesterday submitted five boxes, including 4,000 pages, of documents to the Office of the Attorney-General and asked it to file a complaint in court against Yingluck in the case of dereliction of duty, which resulted in the Bt500-billion loss by the rice-pledging scheme.

Santanee Ditsayabut said that due to the prominence of the case, a deputy attorney-general would be assigned to head an investigation team for the case. If the team sees the evidence is enough, the case will be forwarded to the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders within 30 days. Otherwise, a joint-panel would have to be set up with the NACC to collaborate on the case.

The deputy spokesperson said that Yingluck can petition the investigation team at any time while the case is being considered by the attorney-general.

She can propose investigation of more witnesses including those rejected by the NACC.

The office would be fair to Yingluck. The fact that she is on a trip abroad was not an obstacle and would not hinder the case. However, application of the statute of limitations would be paused if the accused behaved in a way that suggested she seeks to escape, such as failing to report when summoned, she said.

Yingluck is now on a trip abroad but scheduled to return to Thailand on Sunday.

She also faces an impeachment case over huge losses caused by the controversial rice scheme. According to the previous Constitution, the Senate must decide on the impeachment.

Meanwhile, ML Panadda Diskul, permanent secretary of the Prime Minister's Office and in charge of a committee auditing the state's rice inventory, said yesterday that about 90 per cent of inspections of more than 1,700 warehouses holding rice from the pledging scheme around the country has been done.

"Some samples of rice were sent to laboratories for a further quality check and the results are expected to be known in the middle of September," he said.

In regard to concern the checks may not be thorough, ML Panadda insisted the audit was extensive and fair, as samples were collected from every warehouse. But he believed warehouses should improve their standards for storing rice.


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