Yingluck ‘responsible for more than Bt280 bn loss’

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation




PM says final figure will be known only after court hearings on rice pledging scheme; Yingluck to testify in court first time on Friday.

FORMER PRIME MINISTER Yingluck Shinawatra is liable for more than Bt280 billion in damages from her government’s controversial rice-pledging scheme, according to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Prayut, who chaired yesterday’s |meeting of the national rice policy and management committee, also said it |was a coincidence the court is due to |start deliberating the controversial case involving the former premier’s civil |liability on August 5, just two days before the national referendum on the new charter.

Yingluck is facing charges of negligence of her official duties concerning the rice-pledging scheme’s huge losses, estimated to be more than Bt500 billion.

A government fact-finding committee on civil liability concerning the scheme earlier disclosed thatYingluck would be held responsible for as much as Bt286 billion in financial damages.

The committee also found that former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom was responsible for another Bt20 billion in damages caused by allegedly fake government-to-government rice deals during his tenure.

However, Prayut said the financial damages would probably grow because the government still has a huge stock of unsold rice as a result of the scheme, which will incur further losses as the rice spoils.

According to the fact-finding committee, there is still as much as 13 million tonnes of rice in the government inventory as less than 1 million tonnes have been sold.

The previous Yingluck government bought a record amount of rice from farmers who were offered a price much higher than the world market price resulting in the scheme’s broad popularity.

Prayut said yesterday that Yingluck’s civil liability of about Bt280 billion |would be increased because the figure |was calculated in 2014 and there could |be more losses incurred due to the deteriorating quality of the rice in inventory and the inability to sell the remaining stock.

He said the final verdict on the |scheme rests with the court because the government’s duty is only to present the facts.

Prayut added that the government has been unable to sell most of the rice bought under the scheme because of the unfavourable market conditions and the worsening quality of the rice.

Yingluck and other accused would have a chance to defend themselves in court and can lodge an appeal, he said, but he insisted that those responsible for financial damages would be held accountable.

Meanwhile, Yingluck wrote on Facebook that she would go to court on Friday regarding the charges, adding that she had been facing serious challenges.

However, she said she would remain strong and in good spirits given that there are many well-wishers who have provided her with moral support.

“I will be strong and patient as some issues take time to unwind and understand. Eventually, I believe things will pass and I am ready to answer the questions in court. Thanks for all your support,” Yingluck wrote on Facebook.

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