Anti-graft agency to probe Yingluck over rice scheme

Anti-graft agency to probe Yingluck over rice scheme

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on Tuesday resolved to probe caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's management of the controversial rice-pledging scheme.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra refuses to talk reporters after a meeting with the Election Commission on Tuesday, 28 Jan. She is now the target of a National Anti-Corruption Commission inquiry over her role in managing the rice-pledging scheme. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

The inquiry by the anti-graft agency will seek grounds to file formal charges and initiate impeachment proceedings against the caretaker prime minister.

The NACC met on Tuesday to discuss Ms Yingluck and her alleged negligence of duty in the rice-pledging scheme. The decision to probe the caretaker premier was reached at the meeting.

NACC spokesman Vicha Mahakun said Ms Yingluck will be formally informed of the inquiry next week so that she can prepare to defend herself before a panel of NACC commissioners.

Ms Yingluck is being targeted for investigation over due to her alleged negligence as chairwoman of the National Rice Policy Committee, he added.

The decision comes after the NACC on Jan 16 launched formal corruption charges against 15 suspects in connection with fake government-to-government rice deals with two Chinese firms. The suspects include former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and former deputy commerce minister Poom Sarapol.

The NACC investigated the sham rice deals and found no evidence that Guangdong Stationery & Sporting Goods Import & Export Corp and Hainan Grain & Oil Industrial Trading Co were authorised by the Chinese government to purchase rice under the government's pledging scheme. The anti-graft agency also found no evidence that the 'sold' rice had been exported to China.

All suspects will be given the chance to defend themselves before officials forward the case for further legal proceedings, the NACC said.

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