Prosecutors warned not to fall for Yingluck's delay tactics

BANGKOK - Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is trying to stretch out the |judicial proceedings against her over the rice-pledging scheme into next year when the political tide could turn in her favour, political activist Suriyasai Katasila alleged yesterday.

"Anyone can see that she goes out shopping for food everyday but how can she say she has no time to go to court?" he said.

Yingluck's attorneys sought to stall prosecutors' attempts to indict her on Wednesday at the Supreme Court's Political Division for Political Office Holders, he said.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has accused Yingluck of failing to stop corruption in the rice-mortgaging scheme despite warnings from the anti-graft body and causing the state to lose hundreds of billions of baht.

He said Yingluck had not confirmed that she was ready to appear at the court to hear the charges against her.

Yingluck had two alternatives: try to dodge prosecution by fleeing the country or try to delay the trial until the political momentum works to her advantage, he said.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has stated the next general election would be held early next year.

Last week, Yingluck asked the Attorney-General's Office to review its decision to seek her arraignment.

Suriyasai warned the Attorney-General's Office and the National Anti-Corruption Commission to ensure that |the prosecution goes ahead.

If the court allowed Yingluck to leave the country, she was unlikely to return, he claimed, so the case against her would have to be suspended.

Many politicians have already escaped prosecution after committing irregularities and this has caused a breakdown in national reconciliation because people who were in the wrong refused to face justice, he added.

Meanwhile, former Democrat list-MP Watchara Phetthong hit back at former Pheu Thai Party whip Amnuay Klangpha for claiming it was not legally possible to freeze the assets of Yingluck and former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom before the court delivers a verdict on the rice-pledging scheme.

Watchara said he was informed that some assets had been transferred to the United Kingdom.

The NACC and prosecutors should petition the court to issue an order to seize both politicians' assets, he said.

Norawit Lalang, Yingluck's attorney, attacked the NACC's move to ask the Finance Ministry to |calculate the financial damage to the state from the rice-pawning scheme in order to file a civil suit against those responsible.

The NACC would file the petition with the Finance Ministry tomorrow.

Why was the anti-graft agency in such a hurry when the Supreme Court has yet to rule on the case, he asked.

The Finance Ministry was also assigned to carry out the rice-pledging policy, he said.