Cornered Yingluck fights back

Cornered Yingluck fights back
Ousted former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (L) and former Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat arrive at the criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand, September 29, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday filed a lawsuit against Attorney-General Trakul Winitnaiyapak and three other prosecutors for alleged abuse of authority and mishandling the case against her over the rice-pledging scheme, her government's flagship policy that is estimated to have cost the state up to Bt600 billion in damages.

The court will decide in seven days whether to accept the suit.

Yingluck turned up at the Criminal Court yesterday with former PM Somchai Wongsawat and filed the suit accusing Trakul, Chutichai Sakhakorn, Surasak Threerattrakul and Kittinan Thatpramuk of violating Sections 83, 157 and 200 of the Criminal Code.

In her personal Facebook page, Yingluck wrote that the Attorney-General and three others had failed to probe loopholes in the case, and had framed up charges that were not mentioned in the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)'s writ against her while unfairly bringing an additional 60,000 pages of documents in the case.

The suit filed by Yingluck also said the attorney-general had earlier pointed out four shortcomings in the writ on the rice-pledging scheme but did not order an investigation to fix the loopholes and decided to indict her just one hour before the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted to impeach her.

Yingluck said the suit filed by the attorney-general stated that she had acknowledged and permitted others to commit corruption, even though the NACC's original writ did not accuse her of corruption and consent to corruption. During the trial, the attorney-general also introduced 60,000 pages of documents that were not discussed during the joint-panel of prosecutors and the NACC regarding the suit. Yingluck said she must defend herself against the prosecutors' alleged abuse of power, which she said were unjustified and in violation of the rule of law.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said he did not believe that even if the Criminal Court agrees to hear her case, the decision would have repercussions on the rice-pledging scheme trial against Yingluck at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holder.

Wissanu said Yingluck had filed a criminal suit on a personal basis against Trakul who will retire today. He will be replaced by Pongniwat Yuthapanboripan as the new attorney-general. The two cases are not related.

Asked to respond to the court's decision to reject a suit filed by former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and former Foreign Trade Department director-general Manat Soiploy against the attorney-general over the government-to-government rice deal, Yingluck said she hoped the court would accept her case but she could not keep high hopes.

Yingluck's lawyer, Sommai Koosap, said the former PM would exercise her rights in all legal avenues if she believes she did not receive justice. Sommai said Yingluck is filing the suit without expecting it would benefit her in another trial.

Meanwhile, Wissanu said the government has one and a half years left to make Yingluck pay compensation for damages over the rice-pledging scheme before the two-year statute of limitations expires.

He said the Commerce and Finance ministries' fact-finding panels looking into civil offences in the rice-pledging scheme must complete their probe within this month. The two panels on Monday informed him that they had the findings ready and would submit them to him today.

Wissanu said he would submit the findings to the PM who would forward it to the committee to consider civil offences headed by Comptroller-General Department chief Manas Jamveha.

If Manas's committee gives the nod on civil offences, the PM would issue an administrative order to a "particular group of people" to pay compensation within a certain period. If they refuse to pay, they have the right to file a petition with the Administrative Court to revoke the order. In that case, the government would be a defendant and the people in question would be plaintiffs.

Wissanu said the two panels' findings may cite the figure of how much the compensation amount would be but he could not reveal it because Manas's committee would have to decide who would have to pay the compensation and how much.

Wissanu said Manas had told him he would issue an order that the compensation be paid by the end of this year if his committee receives the case for consideration by early October.

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