Thai ex-PM attends hearing for rice-pledging scheme

Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Photo: EPA/VNA)


Hanoi (VNA)
– Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has attended the last hearing
of a court case over a rice-pledging scheme under her administration.

The ex-PM arrived at
the Thai Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions
in Bangkok on July 21. Hundreds of police were deployed to the court compound
in an effort to tighten security. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha warned her
supporters not to create trouble during the hearing.

Under Thailand’s
court procedures, both the defendant and the plaintiff are allowed to deliver
verbal statements within 30 days after the final hearing. The court will take
up to 14 days to issue its ruling.

If found guilty, Yingluck will face up to 10 years in prison and a seizure
of assets worth 35 billion THB for the scheme’s losses.

The rice scheme was a flagship election policy
that helped sweep Yingluck to office in a landslide in 2011.

The rice-buying scheme introduced by PM Yingluck Shinawatra in 2011 paid
farmers above market price for their rice, making it uncompetitive in the world

The government has found it difficult to sell
the rice and the programme has run into funding problems, leaving many farmers
waiting months for payment. 

In January 2015, the National Legislative Assembly charged Yingluck of
negligence over her management of the rice programme and banned her from
politics for five years.-VNA

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