BANGKOK, Feb 20 – Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today deplored the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for hurriedly gathering charges of neglect of duty against her in connection with the rice pledging scheme
In a long statement on her Facebook page, Ms Yingluck, who has failed to appear in public since yesterday said it should not be possible for NACC to press charges against her after only 21 days of investigation unless there is a hidden agenda.
She said she has performed her duty as prime minister in the past two years with honesty to protect the national interest but the NACC’s decision to investigate the Democrat Party’s allegations against her, as stated in a letter to her on Jan 31, could be unfair to her for she should be given enough time to find witnesses and evidence to defend herself.
The NACC unanimously decided to press charges of neglect of duty against Ms Yingluck in her capacity as chairperson of the National Rice Policy Committee (NRPC).
Ms Yingluck said she, as NRPC head responsible for policy making, was not authorised to order officials in the operational level or control them, and would like to exercise her constitutional right to check evidence and witnesses in order to clarify to the NACC over the allegations.
The caretaker premier added that she submitted a letter to NACC on Feb 11, requesting the appointment of a new member in charge of fact-finding investigation to replace Vicha Mahakhun.
Ms Yingluck said she was surprised that she has not received any response from NACC concerning her two requests but learned during the NACC press conference on Tuesday that the person she opposed has remained in the agency
The NACC spent only 21 days in wrapping up the case and branding her a criminal suspect, she said, a practice that has never before happened, particularly when compared to the NACC investigation into rice distribution irregularity allegations leveled against the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration.
There was no development in the rice corruption charges against the previous government, she said.
Stressing honesty in running the country, Ms Yingluck said the rice pledging scheme was positively meant to help farmers and that she would cooperate in providing facts and information in the hope that she would be treated fairly.
“I will still lend my full cooperation and give necessary information to the NACC. It is also my fervent hope that the NACC will listen to all accounts of the witnesses before delivering a verdict. The judicial process, under the rule of law, would provide the best opportunity for the accused to prove oneself,” she said
“More importantly, if there were indeed true justice without any hidden agenda, the NACC would not have hurriedly investigated and delivered a verdict in such a manner that has allowed society to deem it as beneficial only to those who want to topple the government. And in comparison to previous cases that I have mentioned earlier, for example the rice scheme of the previous government,” said Ms Yingluck
The NACC must prove to the public that it has exercised its power righteously in accordance with the principles of the rule of law as stated under the Constitution, she concluded.
Ms Yingluck did not show up for work today at the office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence in Muang Thong Thani and called off her planned visit to the office of the Center for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.