Yingluck ‘Confused’ by Signals on Rice Subsidy

Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra speaks to reporters Friday in her home organic garden in Bangkok.

BANGKOK — Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she’s been left befuddled by the military government’s announcement that her controversial subsidy for rice farmers benefited the nation but was still potentially fraudulent.

Announcement of the findings Thursday by the Prime Minister’s Office was the latest development in the ongoing legal case against Yingluck, who led the former civilian government and was indicted in February 2015 on corruption charges related to the rice policy.

“I’m still confused,” Yingluck said at a news conference Friday reporters at her residence in Bangkok. “They say the policy wasn’t wrong. The rice wasn’t missing. How can administrators of the policy be wrong? I want to know, too.” 

Yingluck is on trial in the court on a charge of dereliction of duty filed against her by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. The commission accused Yingluck of failing to put a stop to the alleged corruption in the subsidy during her administration, inaction the prosecutor said cost the country greatly. 


Yingluck Rice Subsidy Trial to Stretch Through End of Next Year


The military government, which replaced Yingluck’s government in a coup in May 2014, also launched its own investigation into the rice policy in April. The investigators announced their finding on Thursday, saying that there were grounds to the allegations of dereliction of duty against Yingluck.

In October, the junta initiated its own subsidy program for rice farmers.

However, the investigators now say Yingluck’s program “benefited the nation,” and are unable to specify what was the exact amount of damage caused by alleged corruption in the program. 

“Her actions were wrong, but the amount of damage is another issue,” said head investigator Jirachai Moontongroy 

On Friday, Yingluck said she would continue to contest the allegations in the court. 

“We know what we have done,” she said. “We want to prove to the court, and we want to prove to the people, and let the court decide.” 

She is due to appear in court again on Wednesday. 

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Teeranai Charuvastra can be reached at [email protected] and @Teeranai_C.

 

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