Yingluck asks court to examine rice warehouses

Yingluck asks court to examine rice warehouses

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Supreme Court to a warm welcome from supporters for the 14th day of hearing of the defence case on Thursday. She is charged with dereliction of duty over her government's rice-pledging scheme. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Supreme Court to a warm welcome from supporters for the 14th day of hearing of the defence case on Thursday. She is charged with dereliction of duty over her government's rice-pledging scheme. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra asked the Supreme Court to examine warehouses in Ang Thong which stored pledged rice during her administration when she arrived for the 14th day of the presentation of her defence case on Thursday.

Ms Yingluck said the Commerce Ministry had affirmed that no irregularities were found there.

She was speaking before attending the latest hearing in her trial on charges of dereliction of duty in supervising the loss-making rice-pledging scheme at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions. 

She said she would petition the court to examine 16 rice storage facilities in Ang Thong. Commerce officials had surveyed the warehouses and found no damage or evidence of graft. 

This new evidence would help prove her government's rice scheme was not rife with corruption, with warehouses of deteriorating rice, as alleged, the former premier said. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) was given this information, but did not take it into account, she said.

Three defence witnesses were scheduled to testify in court on Thursday.

One of them was Adul Yuwawittayapanich, a former commerce ministry official who earlier sat on the panel probing allegedly bogus government-to-government rice sales under the Yingluck administration. 

Other two were relatives of rice farmers who committed suicide during the Yingluck administration. They were said to be ready to attest that their relatives took their own lives due to personal problems, not because of the sputtering payouts from the rice scheme. 

Ms Yingluck said she was considering asking the court to extend the time frame for the hearing. She still had 20 witnesses to present. The hearing of defence witnesses is scheduled to conclude on July 21. 

The former prime minister was welcomed outside the court by a group of supporters, including former ministers and core leaders of Pheu Thai party, before attending the 14th day of the hearing of defence witnesses.

The Supreme Court later rejected Ms Yingluck's request for an examination of rice facilities in Ang Thong, saying more than two years had passed and rice would normally deteriorate, so an examination would serve no purpose.

The court set the next hearing of defence witnesses for July 7.


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