PM dodges rice graft charges

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is unlikely to conclude whether caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be charged in the rice-pledging corruption case before the Feb 2 general election.

The NACC said its panel looking into the matter had not obtained sufficient evidence to decide on Ms Yingluck's fate, though the investigation had made progress.

Revealing this confidential information would make it even harder for the NACC to investigate further, NACC deputy secretary-general Witthaya Arkompitak said.

Meanwhile, more rice farmers affected by the rice-pledging scheme have started blocking roads in their provinces demanding payment for their rice pledged under the scheme, which has been overdue for months.

In Phitsanulok, more than 500 protesters gathered at the Indo-China intersection blocking the road and demanded they be paid about 6 billion baht of overdue payments before Jan 31, or else they will step up their protest.

If the government fails to make the rice-pledging payments in time, the farmers will consider joining the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) in Bangkok, they said.

The Phitsanulok farmers also demanded the government cover the interest on the loans they had sought using their rice-pledging certificates as collateral. They said they had applied for the loans because they needed money to survive while they waited for their payments from the government.

They will continue to block the roads until they get a satisfactory answer from the government.

In Kamphaeng Phet, more than 200 rice farmers have started to block the Nakhon Sawan-Kamphaeng Phet road with their tractors and motorcycles in a similar protest.

Cars travelling between the North and the Central region through Kamphaeng Phet had to use a bypass to avoid the blocked road.

Surachet Siniang, chairman of the rice farmers' club of the province, said about 40,000 farmers are waiting for their payments which come to about 10 billion baht in total, and they have yet to receive a clear answer from the government about when they will get paid.

In Ratchaburi, more than 500 rice farmers have decided to block the Wang Manao intersection that serves as a gateway to the southern region.

The road-block protest in Ratchaburi is expected to take place on Friday, said Wichit Phanphian, president of Ratchaburi's rice farmer council.

About 300 farmers from Sing Buri, Lop Buri, Suphan Buri and Ang Thong have started to block the Asian Highway, both inbound and outbound lanes, in Sing Buri.

This protest has resulted in serious traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, Prapat Panyachartraksa, chairman of the National Farmers Council, said farmers could be paid for their pledged rice within three weeks.

"Caretaker Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan assured me on the phone on Monday that farmers would be paid for their pledged rice within three weeks," he told reporters at a seminar on political deadlock held at Kasetsart University on Thursday.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 24/01/2014 at 10:03 AM
6 billon on 500 farmer would be 1.2 Mio each farmer. That number is in this content for sure wrong. 10 billon on 40.000 farmer would be 250.000 Baht each farmer which is still very high. The average farmer with his 10 rai of rice field or so will get much less than that. But of course there are also some reach people with a lot of land countryside, who are planting rice on a large scale.
Discussion 2 : 24/01/2014 at 09:26 AM
Did you expect anything else?
Discussion 3 : 24/01/2014 at 08:46 AM
Wow, if someone shortchanged me 6 billion baht I'd be upset too. I don't blame them at all. That's a lot of money!!!!!!
Discussion 4 : 24/01/2014 at 08:29 AM
This is just so typical of this country. No one takes responsibility for anything. no one is punished. simply moved to 'inactive' posts or allowed to flee, as in Taksin. We have a saying, 'spare the rod and spoil the child'. Thailand is, in this case, the child. See where all your 'softly softly' approach has got you. What a mess!
Discussion 5 : 24/01/2014 at 08:25 AM
Why Thaksin in in Cambodia at this moment?
Discussion 6 : 24/01/2014 at 08:20 AM
Add to this "Vote for the PTP and we will reform the government after we are elected." Sure they will!!!!
Discussion 7 : 24/01/2014 at 08:10 AM
Ricefield: Look on the bright side , at least now there is still time to hear the PTP election platform from Ms PM. What will it be this time. PTP Thinks -Thaksin doesn't or don't they even have to bother.
Discussion 8 : 24/01/2014 at 08:09 AM
How much evidence is needed? No one is blameless here but you feel someone less important is going to take the rap for this
Discussion 9 : 24/01/2014 at 08:08 AM
She is the Chair, no further proof is needed. Thainess is to give people an opportunity to save face.
Discussion 10 : 24/01/2014 at 08:08 AM
Three weeks? In other words, "Vote PT on FEB 2 and we will pay you shortly thereafter." This represents a radical new strategy for PT - paying for votes AFTER an election.
Discussion 11 : 24/01/2014 at 08:04 AM
This is what happens when a government lets a mob run wild without intervention. More and more mobs will spring up around the country. Lets shut down Thailand, shall we?
Discussion 12 : 24/01/2014 at 08:04 AM
She hasn't dodged anything - hasn't been cleared of wrongdoing.
Discussion 13 : 24/01/2014 at 08:02 AM
The evidence is Ms. Yingluck being the chairwoman of the National Rice Policy Committee who oversees the rice pledging scheme. There are video evidence of her plea for the approval of the scheme for the benefit of the rice farmers and numerous video news clips. She must take full responsibility of the failed rice pledging policy.
Discussion 14 : 24/01/2014 at 07:58 AM
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is unlikely to conclude whether caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be charged in the rice-pledging corruption case before the Feb 2 general election. Really? Did anyone think that it would be different. I am so shocked.
Discussion 15 : 24/01/2014 at 07:50 AM
She didn't "dodge" the charges, the decision has only been delayed. And what is this "confidential" information. You buy something, rice, and you pay for it, how much? You sell something, rice, and you get paid for it, how much?There are certain costs associated with the purchase, storage and sale of the commodity, what are they? Any public company, the government, should have records of these figures. This is not a National Security issue! It is taxpayers money being used and the taxpayer deserves to know how. If this was one of Taksin's companies he would have stopped the program long ago!
Discussion 16 : 24/01/2014 at 07:46 AM
Maybe they just figure to find all the direct heads guilty and that will implicitly involve the big boss. I think this is about legalese more than evidence. It is quite obvious there is a preponderance of evidence.
Discussion 17 : 24/01/2014 at 07:43 AM
One careless mistake has spoiled the soup. Rice importers of many countries were reluctant to procure high pricy rice. Such as China needed Thai rice badly, but she delayed the rice acquisition, forcing Thai government lowered the rice prices and was made at lost of billions baht in this pricing war of rice. Secondly, came the protest indirectly affected the payments made to pay rice farmers were stagnant. Now, EC disapproves the loan for the farmers is stuck half-way. Misfortunately, the government is being pushed into insolvency.
Discussion 18 : 24/01/2014 at 07:36 AM
Because they need to subpoena the commerce minister to make public the figures on rice sales and activities in order to see if graft is involved, and whether it has been obvious to Yingluck and what she has done to stop it, being head of the scheme. The buck stops at her desk.
Discussion 19 : 24/01/2014 at 07:33 AM
Populist policy, if poorly thought out or badly managed, will turn out to be a thorn on the flesh.
Discussion 20 : 24/01/2014 at 07:21 AM
They already had the money, where did it go?
Discussion 21 : 24/01/2014 at 06:49 AM
Have all the first car buyers received their rebates yet?

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