11 July 2024

Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission has decided not to press charges, against former prime ministers Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra or former Pheu Thai MP Yaowapa Wongsawat, in connection with the fraudulent government-to-government rice deals between Thailand and China almost a decade ago.

By a vote of 6:1, the commission ruled on Monday that, since its predecessor had already dropped the charges against them, to reissue the charges might not be lawful and could be considered to be “double jeopardy.”

Yaowapa is Thaksin’s younger sister.

According to informed sources, members of the commission engaged in extensive debate over legal issues surrounding the retaining of former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom as a prosecution witness.

Boonsong was the commerce minister who oversaw the G-to-G rice deals between the Foreign Trade Department and state owned Chinese companies. It was ultimately discovered that the entities which signed the rice deals were bogus firms and the rice was not exported to China. The purchased rice was resold domestically.

The commission voted 6:1 to retain Boonsong as a prosecution witness and not to press charges against him.

In 2017, Boonsong was sentenced to 42 years in prison by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders, after he was found guilty of falsifying G-to-G rice deals between Thailand and China.

Yingluck, who was also indicted in the same case, fled Thailand during the trial and the court issued a warrant for her arrest.

The commission ruled that Weerawut Wajanaphukka, former secretary to Boonsong, was guilty of being an accessory in abetting the G-to-G rice sale scam.

In 2019, Weerawut was sentenced to 50 years by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.