Yingluck liable by law to pay for damages in rice scheme: Prayut

Yingluck liable by law to pay for damages in rice scheme: Prayut

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters as she arrived at the Supreme Court on Aug 5, 2016 for a trial on the rice subsidy scheme during her administration. (Reuters photo)
Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters as she arrived at the Supreme Court on Aug 5, 2016 for a trial on the rice subsidy scheme during her administration. (Reuters photo)

The government has adhered to the law in demanding former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to pay for damages in her government's rice-pledging scheme, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Sunday.

Gen Prayut said on his return this morning from attending the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

A government committee pursuing civil liabilities against wrongdoers in the state sector, chaired by Manas Jamveha, director-general of the Comptroller-General’s Department, has decided to order Ms Yingluck to pay 35.7 billion baht in damages from the rice-pledging scheme.

Mr Manas said on Friday his panel found Ms Yingluck, who chaired the National Rice Policy Committee, had committed gross negligence that resulted in 180 billion baht in losses from the 2013-14 rice crop.

The committee determined that Ms Yingluck’s negligence accounted for 20% of the total loss, or 35.7 billion baht. However, the panel did not find her responsible for the losses in the previous years of 2011-12.

Concerning this matter, Gen Prayut said while the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) had taken legal action against Ms Yingluck the government was responsible to take civil action against her according to the law on civil liabilities of 1996 otherwise it could be liable to legal action for negligence under Section 157 of the Criminal Code.

He maintained that this was not a persecution and the government had not rushed the case.  The government was only required to conclude the civil case by February next year.

"I would like to reaffirm that everything must be based on the law, otherwise the people would be confused," said the prime minister.

Asked whether he was concerned over a petition filed for the NACC to investigate Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha, his younger brother and permanent secretary for defence, for alleged irregularities involving his son, Gen Prayut said replied: "What if this happened to your brothers and relatives?"

He said he would not guarantee anybody's innocence and would like everything to undergo a proper course of action.

The Association for the Protection of the Constitution (APC) on Thursday urged the NACC to investigate a possible conflict of interest in state construction contracts handed to a company, Contemporary Construction, of which Gen Preecha's son, Pathompol,is one of the three share holders.

APC secretary-general Srisuwan Janya said the association wanted the NACC to look into whether there was any malpractice by someone close to a high-level state official handling government projects financed by taxpayers.

The firm won seven projects with the 3rd Army Region between December 2014 and April this year worth a combined 97 million baht, the Isranews agency reported. The seven projects ranged in cost from eight million baht to 25 million baht.


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