Yingluck defends herself against negligence charges

Last Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 18:41

Bangkok: Embattled Thai Premier Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday defended herself against charges of negligence in a controversial rice subsidy scheme that could lead to her removal from office and a five-year ban from politics.

Yingluck, 46, appeared before the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to defend her against allegations that she as chairperson of the National Rice Policy Committee has failed to address corruption in the scheme that brought her to power in the 2011 election.

"Today she gave 200 pages of evidence to an anti-graft body," her Secretary General Suranand Vejjajiva said.

Yingluck asked the anti-graft body to consider her documents and said she would provide more information if needed.

Yingluck also told the NACC that she has prepared 11 witnesses to argue against the charges, according to Suranand.

Thai government started buying rice from farmers at above market prices in 2011 to shore up rural incomes, fulfilling a campaign pledge by the Pheu Thai Party headed by Yingluck.

The scheme has been widely accused of fuelling rampant corruption.

If found guilty, Yingluck could face removal from office and a five-year ban from politics.

The government had to scramble to raise funds after the farmers decided to march to Bangkok to demand compensation. The NACC has charged the premier of dereliction of duty in approving this rice scheme.

The charges along with the continuing anti-government protests has put Yingluck in a tight spot as the country is stuck in a political limbo after the February 2 snap polls were annulled by the Constitutional Court.

PTI

First Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 18:41

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