11 July 2024

Thailand’s Central Administrative Court ruled today (Friday) that an order, issued by the Finance Ministry in 2016, demanding that former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pay 35 billion baht compensation to the state for losses incurred in her administration’s scandalous government-to-government rice deals.

The court reasoned that the irregularities occurred at the operational level, while Yingluck was only involved in the memoranda of understanding for the trade agreements and that she had nothing directly to do with actual transactions.

The court also said that the Finance Ministry had no evidence to prove that Yingluck had done anything which had damaged the state.

On Monday, the Central Administrative Court ordered former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyaphirom, former deputy commerce minister Poom Saraphol and three former senior commerce officials to pay the Thai state 14.7 billion baht in compensation for damage caused to the state by the G-to-G rice deals.

The three other former officials are Manas Soiploy, former director-general of Foreign Trade Department, Tikumporn Nartvoratat, former deputy director-general of Foreign Trade Department and Akkarapong Teepwatchara, former director of Foreign Trade Office.

Vicha Mahakun, a former member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, said today that the Central Administrative Court’s ruling is not yet final, because the government can appeal the decision to the Supreme Administrative Court.

Dr. Warong Dechgitvigrom, acting leader of the Thai Pakdee party, and the “whistle blower” who exposed the rice scandal, said he was surprised by the ruling, but will respect it, while urging the government to appeal.