Nails in Yingluck's coffin?

Nails in Yingluck's coffin?
Ousted former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (C) delivers her opening statement to the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly in Bangkok January 9, 2015. Thailand's parliament began an impeachment hearing against Yingluck on Friday that could lead to her being banned from politics for five years and stoke tension in the divided country.

THE CHANCE of former PM Yingluck Shinawatra avoiding impeachment on Friday got a lot slimmer yesterday after a joint working group of anti-graft officials and public prosecutors agreed to indict her on a long-standing criminal case.

The anti-graft agency has also charged former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and associates for corruption in the rice-pledging scheme.

The criminal case was first flagged in July last year, when the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) accused Yingluck of dereliction of duty in relation to the rice scheme.

Yesterday, the joint NACC and Office of Attorney-General group resolved that they have enough evidence to take a case against her to the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.

"The Attorney General will file the case in court in days," Sansern Poljieak, secretary-general of the attorney-general's office, said.

Yingluck will be indicted for dereliction of duty in regard to the rice-pledging scheme. If found guilty, she could face one to 10 years in prison or a fine of between Bt2,000 and Bt20,000 or both.

On the political front, this consensus and graft charges laid against the ministers offer solid ground for members of the National Legislative Assembly to vote to impeach her for negligence in handling the scheme, which caused huge damage to national coffers and the rice trade.

The NACC decided yesterday to file the charge, alleging that former commerce minister Boonsong and former deputy commerce minister Poom Saraphol created illegal government-to-government (G2G) rice sale deals.

The case will be filed at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.

Boonsong said the NACC had a hidden agenda in charging him and other officials only two days before the NLA will vote on Yingluck's impeachment.

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