NACC finds Yingluck abused authority in infrastructure roadshow

NACC finds Yingluck abused authority in infrastructure roadshow

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra sits with other officials in a mock high-speed train carriage when she attended the Building the Future of Thailand 2020 exhibition at Khon Kaen University on Oct 26, 2013. (Government House photo)
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra sits with other officials in a mock high-speed train carriage when she attended the Building the Future of Thailand 2020 exhibition at Khon Kaen University on Oct 26, 2013. (Government House photo)

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has found grounds to the accusation that former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and two other former officials committed offences and abused their authority by rolling out a roadshow campaign to publicise infrastructure development projects in 2013.

NACC spokesman Niwatchai Kasemmongkol told a press briefing after the meeting on Wednesday that Yingluck, former prime minister's secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva and then PM's office minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan stand accused of violating two laws — Section 151 and Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 12 and Section 13 of the law on offences relating to the submission of contract bids to state agencies, 

The alleged offences are related to the 240-million-baht Building the Future of Thailand in 2020 project launched in 2013 at her instruction as prime minister.

The nationwide roadshow campaign was to hold exhibitions, seminars, and other public relations activities to promote an infrastructure investment scheme, for which the Yingluck administration proposed a bill to borrow 2 trillion baht.

However, on March 12, 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled the bill sponsored by the Yingluck government to authorise the Finance Ministry to seek 2 trillion baht in loans for infrastructure development projects was unconstitutional.

As a result, events held under the roadshow campaign were effectively rendered null and void, and the 240-million budget already spent on the campaign was wasted, causing damage to the state, said Mr Niwatchai, who also serves as the NACC's deputy secretary-general.

The NACC has also concluded that two media companies commissioned to run the roadshow were allegedly complicit in supporting the offences by state authorities in violation of the Criminal Code, the anti-corruption law and the law on offences relating to the submission of contract bids to state agencies, Mr Niwatchai said.

The media outlets were Matichon Plc and Siam Sport Syndicate Plc.

The NACC will forward an investigation report on the case, and a recommendation for legal action against the accused to the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), which will decide whether to bring the case before the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions, Mr Niwatchai said.

Mr Surnand posted a Facebook message arguing that he had performed his duty honestly and carefully in the state and public interest.

All procurement processes were strictly made in line with state regulations, he said, and he hoped for justice for himself and the other accused.

Matichon vice president Thakoon Boonparn insisted the company was innocent, and said the anti-graft agency never gave it an opportunity to defend itself during the investigation, Matichon reported.


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