Anupong orders inquiry into Yingluck 'moral support'

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda has ordered a probe into an allegation that local administration budgets were used for travel expenses for transporting people from several provinces to give 'moral support' to Yingluck Shinawatra in Bangkok.

The issue was floated by the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG), which earlier said it found that the budgets of several local administration organisations were used to cover travel expenses in transporting residents to Bangkok to give the former prime minister support when she recently delivered a closing statement at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

Auditor-General Pisit Leelavachiropas earlier said his office had sent a letter to the Interior and Defence ministries urging them to review the use of local administration organisations' budgets.

According to the OAG, the budget of some local administration organisations set aside for visit and study trips were misused by transporting people to political activities.

Gen Anupong said yesterday he had ordered a probe into the issue and ordered agencies to strictly regulate the budget spending of local administration organisations to be in line with legal requirements.

Thousands of Pheu Thai supporters and red shirts are expected to show up at the Supreme Court when the court delivers its ruling on Ms Yingluck's malfeasance case in connection to corruption in her government rice-pledging scheme on Aug 25.

The government has warned against mobilising people to gather at the court on that day, threatening that it could violate the law on public demonstrations and the regime's order to ban political gatherings.

It could also be deemed as contempt of court.

The authorities previously charged and fined van operators who gave transport services to people to gather at the court on Aug 1 when Ms Yingluck delivered her closing statement.

Meanwhile, red-shirt satellite-based Peace TV has been shut down for 30 days by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The NBTC claimed that two of its programmes were deemed to contain content dealing with plots to undermine the constitutional monarchy in violation of Section 37 of the act on television and broadcast business operations.

Observers believe the suspension of the channel is another attempt by authorities to restrict the mobilisation of people to support Ms Yingluck in Bangkok on Aug 25.

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