PM seeks 45-day delay on rice charges

Lawyers for caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday asked the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for another 45 days to study rice-pledging graft charges against the premier, who is due to testify before the agency this Friday.

Lawyer Norawit Lalaeng said Ms Yingluck's legal team had only managed to copy documents relating to the investigation at the NACC office in Nonthaburi on Tuesday, leaving them just two days to mount a defence.

Mr Norawit also claimed the 49-page report does not contain full details of allegations against Ms Yingluck, relating to rice corruption at all levels of government, the distortion of rice market mechanisms or irregularities in rice storage expenses. 

He said he believed the anti-graft agency's full report contained more than 49 pages, since the allegations involved the entire rice-pledging programme. However, he said he was told by the NACC that it would only provide the 49-page dossier for him to examine. 

Ms Yingluck, who is also chairwoman of the National Rice Policy Committee, has been charged with dereliction of duty for failing to address allegations of corruption in the government’s rice-pledging scheme.

Ms Yingluck was originally scheduled to meet the NACC on Feb 27 to answer the charge, but the date was pushed back to Friday, March 14 when she failed to appear at the meeting in person.

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