Thai farmers' marketing boss to be summoned for huge stock of missing rice

Thai farmers' marketing boss to be summoned for huge stock of missing rice

The director of the Marketing Organisation of Farmers (MOF) has been summoned to explain to the government's newly-established National Administrative Centre against Corruption tomorrow about the disappearance of over 100,000 sacks of rice from the government stock.

A total of 108,480 gunny-bags of rice, each with 100-kilogram capacity, was reported as missing from the warehouse of a company rented to store rice bought under the Yingluck Shinawatra administration's rice scheme.

Prayong Preeyachitt, secretary-general of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), said yesterday that Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya, who is in charge of the centre, has summoned the MOF chief to find out about the missing rice.

He said that the MOF, which is responsible for overseeing the rice in government stock, had not taken any serious action in response to the disappearance of this large amount of rice, apart from filing a police complaint.

The disappearance was discovered during a recent inspection of rice warehouses following the coup in May.

Prayong said yesterday that the PACC would also summon representatives from the state agencies whose officials were suspected of being responsible for the disappearance of rice from government stock.

He said those agencies would be required to explain as to what have been done against the officials suspected of malfeasance of dereliction of duty.

A source familiar with the matter said that it was unlikely so large amounts of rice had been stolen.

"You can't take out so much rice in a short period of time," the source said.

Investigators found suspicious facts during an inspection of rice bags at the warehouse in question, the source said.

Large amounts were reported as stolen on three occasions between October 2013 and June 2014.

During an inspection shortly after the coup, a steel structure was raised in the middle of piles of gunny sacks of rice, and inspectors suspect this was aimed at deceiving them, the source said.

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