Court hands Weerawut 50 years for G2G scam
The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Tuesday handed down stiff prison sentences to two more figures involved in the bogus G2G rice deal scandal.
Weerawut Wajanaphukka, who served as secretary to jailed former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, was handed a 50-year term, while Suthee Chuemthaisong, a close aide of Apichart “Sia Piang” Chansakulporn, an executive of the rice exporter Siam Indica Co Ltd, and a key player in the scandal received 32 years.
Suthee was also ordered by the court to pay 16.912 billion baht in damages to the Finance Ministry.
Both were sentenced in absentia.
The court heard Weerawut worked under the commerce minister between August 2012 and June 2013. He was also appointed a member of the National Rice Committee and the subcommittee that released rice shipments in the controversial deal.
According to the court ruling, Weerawut was complicit in having two Chinese companies sign government-to-government contracts with the International Trade Department, which did not allow fair competition between private sector companies to take place.
Suthee was involved in the wrongdoing by liaising with the Chinese firms to pursue contracts under which the rice stocks would be sold at below-market prices.
However, the rice in question was never exported to China.
The court found Weerawut guilty of corruption in the G2G rice deal and Suthee of assisting Dr Weerawut in committing the graft.
On May 17, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ordered the seizure of Weerawut's assets, worth more than 896 million baht, after finding him “unusually wealthy”.
The asset seizure from Weerawut, who served as Boonsong’s secretary between August 2012 and June 2013, was sought by the Office of Attorney-General (OAG) after the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) found him guilty of being unusually wealthy in November 2017.
According to the NACC, Weerawut failed to explain how assets totalling 896,554,760 baht were acquired while he served as an assistant secretary to Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol from August 2011 to January 2012, and later as secretary to Boonsong.
Boonsong was handed a 42-year jail sentence and his former deputy, Poom, was sentenced to 36 years over corruption in the fake G2G rice deals.