11 July 2024

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has launched a fresh investigation into rice deals committed under the government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra which were suspected to be plagued with corruption.

NACC chairman Pol Gen Watcharaphol Prasarnratchakit said Monday that two subcommittees responsible for the investigation have found out there were more people suspected to be involved in the widespread corruption concerning the huge amount of rice bought under the rice pledging scheme.

He said that those implicated in the fresh probe were of different group from those already prosecuted and convicted by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Offices.

The NACC chairman insisted that the fresh probe was not abnormal because there were more than ten rice deals which were committed by the previous administration.

Asked whether the fresh probe was politically motivated as suggested by some critics, Pol Col Watcharaphol said he could not stop people from speculating and maintained that NACC is merely performing its duty.

If the NACC failed to take action, he said the commission would be blamed.

In the fake scandalous government-to-government rice deal with China, about 20 defendants were convicted by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Offices in 2016 after it was found to be fake.

Among those convicted are former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom who was sentenced to 42 years in prison, former deputy commerce minister Poom Saraphol, 36 years, former foreign trade department chief Manas Soiploy, 40 years and his deputy, Tikuumporn Natvaratat, 32 years.

Rice businessman Apichart Chansakulporn of Siam Indica Company or Sia Piang as he was known under the other name was sentenced to 48 years in prison.