ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Politics

Ousted Thai leader indicted for botched rice subsidy

BANGKOK -- Thailand's anti-corruption commission on Thursday indicted former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for negligence in handling a rice subsidy scheme said to have lost the government billions of dollars.

     Yingluck, who was ordered Wednesday to step down by the Constitutional Court in relation to a separate scandal, could be banned from politics or face criminal charges.

    

The controversial policy, introduced just after Yingluck took office in August 2011, bought up rice at 50% over market prices. The aim was to shore up the incomes of rural farmers, a base of support for the political faction aligned with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

     The government apparently lost some 200 billion baht to 400 billion baht ($6.26 billion to $12.52 billion) on the program. Suspicions have also emerged of corruption among cabinet ministers.

     After investigating Yingluck for negligence and abuse of power in the matter, the seven-member National Anti-Corruption Commission decided unanimously to recommend that the Senate impeach her.

     The former prime minister has already lost her office, but if three-fifths of the Senate vote to impeach, she would be banned from running again for five years.

     The anti-corruption committee will decide by May 15 whether there are grounds to indict her on criminal charges. If then found guilty by the Supreme Court, Yingluck could face prison time.

     Emboldened by the moves, opposition groups are stepping up efforts to topple the Thaksin-aligned faction and plan to hold large-scale demonstrations in the streets of central Bangkok on Friday.

     The pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, meanwhile, has protested the charges. The group, also known as the Red Shirts, aims to hold large rallies on the outskirts of Bangkok beginning Saturday.

     Concern is growing that Thailand is headed toward deeper unrest. An explosive device was thrown at the residence of a Constitutional Court judge before daybreak on Thursday.

     Acting Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan will meet with the election commission on May 14 to discuss the general election scheduled for July 20. February's poll was declared void after interference from anti-government groups.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends May 26th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media