SHUTDOWN BANGKOK: PM Yingluck is to be probed in connection with fake rice deal

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission for alleged negligence of duty in connection with a multi-billion baht fake government-to-government rice deal with a Chinese firm.

The decision to investigate Ms Yingluck in her capacity as the chair of the National Rice Policy Committee came after the NACC agreed unanimously to file charges against former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, former deputy commerce minister Poom Saraphol and 13 other people allegedly involved in the huge scandal which has reportedly cost taxpayers about 20 billion baht in loss.

Commissioner Vicha Mahakhun said Thursday that the NACC had, on several occasions, warned the government about the lack of transparency in the rice deals but all of them were ignored and no attempt was done to mitigate the loss.

Ms Yingluck, he said, will be probed for alleged negligence of duty in accordance with Article 157 of the Criminal Code.

THAI PBS  The commissioner disclosed that the NACC’s probe team had found that the G-to-G rice deal between the Foreign Trade Department and the Chinese firm was non-existent and there was no proof that the company was authorized by China to enter into the rice deal with Thailand.

The scandal was exposed during a censure debate last year by then Democrat MP Warong Dejkitvikrom.  It concerns a G-to-G rice deal involving millions of tonnes of milled rice between the Foreign Trade Department and Guangzhou-based GSSG Import and Export Corp which is actually a sports equipments trading company. Also implicated in the scandal includes President Agri Trading Company and Siam Indica.

GSSG was represented by a Thai man who was close to a female Pheu Thai MP whose husband is a firebrand red-shirt follower.

The G-to-G deal was a fake because no rice was exported to the Chinese firm. Instead, the huge amount of milled rice was sold locally at below market price by the Foreign Trade Department to a ghost buyer who then sold the rice at market price to the two Thai firms which have their own rice mills and later on the same amount of rice were pledged with the government at pledging prices which are about 40 percent above market price.

The gang, it was alleged, made double profits from the same amount of rice.




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