Criminal charges pressed against former Thai PM

Prosecutors bring 20 boxes of documents to charge Yingluck Shinawatra over loss-ridden rice-subsidies scheme.

Criminal charges pressed against former Thai PM


World Bulletin / News Desk

Thailand’s attorney general formally pressed criminal charges Thursday against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra over a loss-ridden rice-subsidies scheme implemented by her government until a coup last May.

Staff from the attorney general office brought 20 boxes of documents to the Supreme Court to substantiate the charges of dereliction of duty against Yingluck. She is accused of not having stopped the scheme, which the finance ministry says cost $15.8 billion in losses to the state during her term of less than three years.

The Supreme Court judges said they would take some time to examine the documents before accepting the charges.

At court, Yingluck was represented by her legal team as authorized by law. If the charges are accepted, however, she will be legally required to be physically present during the opening hearing.

The charges are the latest in a series of legal actions against the former premier -- the sister of establishment nemesis Thaksin Shinawatra, a deeply divisive figure who was the prime minister between 2001 and 2006, before he was deposed in a coup. Many blame him for the country's long-time political crisis.

Yingluck herself was removed on May 7, 2014 by the Constitutional Court for improprieties in the transfer of a high-ranking civil servant. Weeks later, her government was deposed in the May 22, 2014 coup.

On the Anti-Corruption Commission’s recommendation, the military-appointed national legislative assembly has previously impeached Yingluck, banning her on Jan. 23 from political activities for five years in relation to the same rice-subsidies scheme.

The commission announced Tuesday that it would ask the Finance Ministry to file a civil suit for “$18 billion in financial losses,” which its own investigation allegedly found to have been caused by the same agricultural scheme.

On announcing the new case, the commission chair, Panthep Klanarongran, underlined that it was not "targeting anyone in particular."

"I insist that we act in accordance with the law. If there is a lack of understanding, then we will have to keep on explaining until it is understood," the Nation quoted Klanarongran as saying.

The anti-graft body has been widely accused of double-standards in its treatment of the Shinawatra family, led by former PM Thaksin, who has lived in exile since being sentenced to two years in jail for abuse of power in 2008.

While it has been quick to revive cases against the Shinawatras and their affiliates, charges against many opposing figures have been dropped.

A complaint filed in 2011 with the commission against improprieties by former Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva in the management of a price-guarantee scheme for rice has gone nowhere.

The commission's secretary-general, Vicha Mahakhun, has tried to explain the delay by saying that documents required to pursue the case against Vejjajiva were "damaged and lost in the massive floods in 2011."


Last Mod: 19 Şubat 2015, 10:34
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