Commerce Minister gives more testimony in rice fraud case


BANGKOK, 25 April 2014  – Minister of Commerce Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan has been summoned for the second time by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) as a witness defending the Prime Minister in the case over corruption in the rice pledging scheme.

At the request of the NACC, Mr Niwatthamrong today submitted more documents as his testimony to the agency in a bid to complete his defense for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is facing a negligence charge. The minister spent about half an hour giving verbal clarifications, focusing on the amount of rice in the government’s warehouses and the release of the grains.

Mr Niwatthamrong reported that out of the original amount of 19.9 million tons in stock, about 13 million tons still remained while a total of 213.5 billion baht had been generated from rice sales. As for the guideline used to determine the selling prices of the grains, he said the government referred to the prices set by other rice exporting countries and the depreciation costs were also factored in.

In addition, the minister presented warehouse rental insurance contracts in order to confirm that none of the mortgaged rice had disappeared, given the papers clearly stipulated the liabilities in such a case.

Mr Niwatthamrong expected the NACC to be able to summarize his testimony within next week before concluding the rice case in early May.