Ex-PM 'knew about rice irregularities'
A rice probe panel and the Office of the Auditor-General insist they had informed Yingluck Shinawatra's government about irregularities in its rice-pledging programme.
They testified at the sixth hearing of the case at the Supreme Court on Friday. Ms Yingluck is charged with dereliction of duty as prime minister in the previous government.
Under the Yingluck administration, the National Rice Policy Committee gave approval for the Commerce Ministry's Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) to proceed with a programme to sell pledged rice in packs at cheap prices, according to Pol Lt Gen Yutthana Thaipakdi, former head of the investigation panel under the Senate's agriculture committee.
The move was aimed at helping disaster-affected people and residents in the strife-torn South.
Private companies were then hired to carry out the programme under the supervision of the PWO.
Pol Lt Gen Yutthana said his committee found flaws in the employment contracts, adding no steps had been taken to examine the capability of the firms dealing with the project.
The committee's investigation found that the packed rice did not go to people as intended. The grain was allegedly resold to private parties.
The committee then wrote to the ministry, urging it to suspend the programme and report the issue to the prime minister, Pol Lt Gen Yutthana said.
The ministry later scrapped the packed rice programme and ordered the PWO to return the grain by Aug 31, 2013. The PWO failed to do so, saying it had already sold the rice to private parties.
The ministry later probed the PWO's handling of the programme.
Deputy Auditor-General Prajuck Boonyoung said the Office of the Auditor-General had written four letters to Ms Yingluck, citing financial risks and alleged irregularities in the programme.
The office also asked the cabinet to give farmers bai pratuan, a document growers can exchange for cash at the state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.