Yingluck Shinawatra has asked Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to stop the process of seeking damages from the rice-pledging programme from her through an administrative order and urged him to let due process take its course.
The former prime minister posted on her Facebook an open letter to Gen Prayut on Monday morning. In it, she wrote she would have her lawyer submit the letter to Gen Prayut through Government House's complaints centre on Tuesday morning.
Since Gen Prayut became prime minister, she had been punished for the programme that was a public policy declared to and endorsed by parliament, she wrote.
"The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) impeached me even though I no longer held the position and the constitution was scrapped," she wrote.
The attorney general also charged her with the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions one hour before the NLA voted, she added.
"You might argue the two cases have nothing to do with you. But what I'm about to say directly involves you."
Ms Yingluck cited Gen Prayut's order to appoint a fact-finding committee for tort liabilities and his interview that he would seek damages using existing mechanisms.
"It's publicly known your legal team is concerned about a huge court fee if the government is to file for damages from me through the civil court," she continued.
"A court is a mechanism of the judicial system in seeking damages in a civil case. Yet your legal team found a new angle to do so — by having you issue an administrative order (without going through the cabinet) for related persons to repay, just like an asset seizure order.
"And all this is just to avoid the hefty court fee. This also means you use your power like a court does in passing judgements. It becomes another mechanism to rule who should pay for the damages of the programme, even though the criminal case on it is far from over.
"I therefore urge you to let the court decide the case because I think everyone is entitled to justice."
She claimed whether the rice-pledging programme was right or wrong was a matter of opinion.
- Earlier report: Yingluck to be asked to pay for rice scheme
"You seem to view the programme differently so you're not an impartial person [to decide the case] but rather a stakeholder.
"Using the power you have today to decide what's right and what's wrong by signing the order even when the criminal court hasn't made a ruling violates rule of law.
She urged Gen Prayut to consider reviewing and to stop the procedure as proposed by his legal team.
"After due process is completed and the court hands down a sentence, the government can have an agency file for damages with the court."
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said later on Monday the government could not let the criminal case end first as requested by Ms Yingluck because administrative claims had a 2-year statute of limitations and in the rice-pledging case, it would end in February 2017.
"We couldn't let the statute of limitations expires because we could later get sued for doing so. However, the defendant can challenge the order with the Administrative Court. Once the case is in court, it doesn't matter how long it takes."
He also explained the decision to use the administrative order was not to avoid a civil lawsuit.
"If we sue for damages with the Civil Court, the charges must be drastically toned down. But since the NACC found grave dereliction in this case, we had to use this channel to seek damages. Everything is by the book. It's not that we had a choice," he said.
The rice-pledgeing programme has been one of the most controversial policies of Ms Yingluck's government.
Critics said it ran up massive losses of up to 700 billion baht. Supporters said it helped the least privileged group and helped narrow the income gap while creating a multiplying effect on the economy.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission accused Ms Yingluck of neglect of duty after it found possible corruption in government-to-government rice deals. Acting on its report, the attorney general filed criminal charges against her and a number of ministers and officials with the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions early this year.
The Prayut government, pressured by several groups to demand damages from the programme from Ms Yingluck, decided a civil case might not be the best course of action because the court fee that the Finance Ministry would have to pay might run up to billions of baht and there was no guarantee of victory.
It therefore decided to take another route by issuing an administrative order demanding her to pay. The amount has not been announced yet.