NACC accuses Yingluck in court of wasting B240m

NACC accuses Yingluck in court of wasting B240m

Suit filed in Supreme Court centres on funds used to promote infrastructure projects

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters as she arrives at the Supreme Court in Bangkok in August 2017 for her closing statement in her rice-pledging case. She later fled the country before the final ruling was handed down. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters as she arrives at the Supreme Court in Bangkok in August 2017 for her closing statement in her rice-pledging case. She later fled the country before the final ruling was handed down. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The National Anti-Corruption Commission on Friday indicted former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and others in the Supreme Court for allegedly wasting a 240-million-baht budget on publicising infrastructure projects in 2013.

At the Supreme Court, the NACC accused Yingluck as the first defendant, former deputy prime minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan the second, Yingluck's then secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva the third, Matichon Plc the fourth, Siam Sport Syndicate Plc the fifth and its director Ravi Lohtong the sixth.

The graft panel alleged that from late August 2013 to March 12, 2014 the first three defendants abused their authority, omitting to call public tenders for the work, to favour the companies which were the fourth and the fifth defendants, who were given the contracts. 

Without a bidding contest, the first three defendants contracted the fourth defendant to implement the government's "Roadshow to Thailand's Future Thailand 2020" campaign in 12 provinces to publicise infrastructure projects that her then-government planned to borrow 2 trillion baht to fund.

The fourth and fifth defendants later conducted the campaign in 10 more provinces, also without a bidding contest, according to the NACC.

Mr Suranand also proposed the then-cabinet lift a requirement for contract signings before making instalment payments to the contractors, and the cabinet, which included the first two defendants, approved the proposal.

The "Roadshow to Thailand's Future Thailand 2020" campaign included exhibitions, seminars and other PR activities to promote infrastructure projects and proposed legislation allowing the government to borrow 2 trillion baht to finance them.

On March 12, 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled the government's loan bill was unconstitutional. As a result, events held during the roadshow were rendered null and void and the 239.7-million-baht already spent on the campaign had been wasted.

NACC asked the court to punish the first three defendants for alleged malfeasance, corruption and price collusion in government projects. It indicted the fourth, fifth and sixth defendants for supporting the offences.

Mr Niwatthamrong, Mr Suranand and Mr Ravi were at the court and were granted temporary release. The court will announce if it will hear the case at 9.30am on April 19.

Yingluck fled the country in 2017, failing to appear at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Aug 25, 2017 for a ruling in her rice-pledging scheme trial.

The court later sentenced her in absentia on Sept 27, 2017, to five years in jail for failing to prevent corrupt and false government-to-government sales of grain stocks from her rice scheme by commerce officials.


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