"Independent Agencies" Continue to Probe Deposed PM

PM Yingluck Shinawatra is heckled by an anti-government protester as she tours Phitsanulok province on 24 December 2013.

BANGKOK — Thailand’s “independent agencies” continue to investigate former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra a month after her government was deposed in a military coup.

Today, Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said the Election Commission (EC) is investigating a claim that Ms. Yingluck misused the state's apparatus by appearing on national television to defend the government's rice-pledging scheme after she had already dissolved Parliament.

The EC is also probing Ms. Yingluck for visiting supporters in northern and northeastern Thailand prior to the national election on 2 February, Mr. Somchai said. According to the allegation, Ms. Yingluck inappropriately used her position as acting Prime Minister to campaign for her party.

Mr. Somchai said the EC was unable to collect relevant documents to supplement their investigations while anti-government protesters were laying siege to governmental buildings during their six-month campaign to oust Ms. Yingluck. 

Now that the anti-government protests are over, thanks to the 22 May military coup, the EC has successfully collected all the documents, Mr. Somchai said.

"Now we only need to interview some witnesses in the provinces outside Bangkok," he added. 

The EC is also working on a separate case concerning 19 politicians from Ms. Yinglucks’s Pheu Thai Party that appeared on state-owned Channel 11 in the pre-election period, which the EC says is a violation of election laws. 

"The EC will swiftly complete the three cases, because they are of great interest to the people," Mr. Somchai said. "I believe all of the cases could reach a verdict by August."

The 2 Feb election was ultimately nullified in a court ruling because voting did not take place everywhere in the country on the same day after anti-government protesters stormed candidate registration venues, seized ballot boxes, shut down polling stations, and intimidated voters in an attempt to scuttle the election. The protesters argued that unspecified national reforms must be completed before any election could be held.

The EC has not taken any action against the anti-election protesters.

Yingluck's assets revealed

Earlier today the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), who is still investigating Ms. Yingluck over allegations of corruption in connection with her government's rice-pledging policy, released details of the assets held by Ms. Yingluck and nine Cabinet members who were ousted in a court ruling on 7 May.

The NACC routinely publishes the assets of ministers in power, but has said it will not conduct an investigation into the assets of the military junta's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). A deputy secretary of the NACC claimed there was no legal basis for the NACC to do so.

According to the NACC, Ms Yingluck and her partner Anusorn Amornchat own assets worth 574 million baht, with a debt of 28 million baht. 

The data shows that Ms. Yingluck was the second-richest person in her Cabinet; the richest Minister was former Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi, who reportedly owns more than 970 million baht in assets. 

The NACC says it is now investigating Ms. Yingluck for allegedly failing to notify the Commission about the existence of her 2.5 million baht luxury watch.

The NACC reportedly intends summon Ms. Yingluck for further questioning concerning the watch.