Private anti-graft group demands tough action on rice subsidy plan


BANGKOK, Jan 27 – Thailand’s Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) today called for an assets seizure of 74 politicians and their families who have plunged the country into Bt370 billion loss from the controversial rice pledging scheme.  

Mongkolkit Suksintaranont, ACN secretary general, lodged a complaint with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), charging members in five Cabinets under the Yingluck Shinawatra government and former legislators for causing a heavy loss to the national budget in executing the rice subsidy programme for two consecutive years.

The loss was estimated at Bt370.9 billion and the assets of 74 government members, lawmakers and their families must be seized to pay for the loss, he said.

Though the total assets, if seized, cannot offset the massive loss but action must be taken to set a precedent in society, he said.

“Thailand has also lost its market share for global rice trading while Thai farmers have also lost their opportunities (for development). The government’s scheme lacked transparency and an investigation has found that the government-to-government rice deal with China, as claimed by the government, was a hoax,” he said.

Witthaya Arkompitak, NACC deputy secretary general, received the complaint which, he said, will be forwarded to the sub-committee on investigation of the rice pledging plan.

The ACN is a private sector group led by a consortium of Thai businessmen and more than 30 industry associations.