Assets of Yingluck, former Thai ministers to be probed

The assets of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and four of her ministers allegedly involved in a controversial rice-pledging scheme would be probed, the country`s anti-graft body announced on Thursday.

PTI| Updated: Jun 06, 2014, 00:46 AM IST

Bangkok: The assets of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and four of her ministers allegedly involved in a controversial rice-pledging scheme would be probed, the country`s anti-graft body announced on Thursday.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission would set up a sub-committee to investigate the assets of 46-year-old Yingluck, former commerce ministers Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan and Boonsong Teriyapirom, and former deputy commerce ministers Yanyong Phuangrach and Phum Sarapol.

A resolution approving the inquiry was passed at a meeting of the NACC, The Bangkok Post reported.

The probe panel will scrutinise the assets of the five politicians to find out if these leaders accumulated unusual wealth from the rice-pledging scheme and sales of rice stocks.

The panel would coordinate with another subcommittee already investigating corruption in connection with the rice scheme, NACC deputy secretary-general Voravit Sukboon said.

Riddled with waste and corruption, the failed rice scheme was a populist measure Yingluck introduced that had helped bring her to power in 2011.

The scheme utilised state money to buy rice from farmers at 40 per cent above the market rate. It ran into financial trouble late last year resulting in delayed payments to farmers and was ended in February after causing billions of dollars in losses to the government.

NACC member Narong Ratha-amarit has been appointed to head the probe panel.

Yingluck, hailing from the billionaire Shinawatra clan, and the ministers have to declare their assets and liabilities to the NACC between June 5 and June 20 respectively.

The declared assets were expected to be revealed to the public early next month, Voravit said.

Yingluck, sister of Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted as premier in a military coup in 2006, along with nine Cabinet members were removed in May on charges of nepotism, which many viewed as politically motivated.

She was legally deposed on May 7 for abuse of powers.

Later, the Thai army seized power in a bloodless coup and pledged political reforms and order after months of anti- government protests.

Thailand has faced power struggle since Thaksin was ousted by the military as prime minister in 2006.