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Yingluck calls on NACC to be fair in rice-pledging case

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday called on the National Anti-Corruption Commission to treat her fairly and equally like many other politicians, saying she was not given enough time to defend herself over allegations related to rice pledging scheme.

The PM has been charged with negligence for allegedly failing to stop losses in the controversial scheme. The anti-graft body said earlier it would not give any extension of time for her to testify with the agency.

Yingluck noted that she was charged by the full NACC and that, unlike in other cases, no sub-committee was formed to undertake a probe.

The NACC took only 21 days to charge her, she said on Facebook. Her legal defence team had asked for an extra 45 days to respond to the charge, but the NACC gave her only 15 days.

"I simply asked for justice but the NACC refused to give even a single day of extension for me to prepare evidence and documents to defend myself," Yingluck said.

During the 21 days of deliberation by the NACC, her team received only 49 pages of documents.

A further 280 pages were later received but she was left with just three days to consider them before having to defend herself against the charge, she said.

The NACC on Thursday declined to extend the deadline again for Yingluck to defend herself. The agency asked her to defend herself to the NACC on Monday.

"Due to all of these points, I would like to ask the NACC whether it has treated me fairly like other political office holders or not," she said.

Yingluck said she had yet to consult her lawyers as to whether she would meet the NACC in person to provide an explanation.

The NACC's deputy secretary general Witthaya Arkompitak defended the agency, saying it had handled her case in accordance with the procedure and regulations.

The rice-pledging scheme case was a big case, which involved key figures in the government like the prime minister, so the body's full committee would take charge. The full committee had assigned themselves as the investigation committee, he said.

The NACC always used a full committee, instead of a subcommittee, to examine big cases with key figures like the House and Senate speakers, he said.

Many cases under the previous Democrat government were done this way, he said and noted that a subcommittee would take cases only when accused people were at ministerial level.

The full committee in this case would do the same function as a subcommittee in other cases, he said.

"By procedure, as the committee examined the case and made their judgement,

it has to submit this to officials who were assigned to handle the case to submit

the result to the full membership again," he said.

"This procedure is due it being in accordance with regulations," Witthaya said.


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