Anti-graft agency gets more evidence on rice corruption


BANGKOK, Feb 13 – Farmer leaders have supplied information and evidence to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), charging the government with cheating in the rice pledging scheme.

Ravee Rungruang, acting president of the Thai Farmers Network, and six farmer representatives handed over the documents to Vittaya Arkompituak, NACC deputy secretary general, yesterday.

They charged the government with corruption and failing to pay them for the rice they have delivered under the rice subsidy programme.

NACC is currently investigating the rice corruption case in which caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in her capacity as chairperson of the National Rice Policy Committee, was implicated.

The farmer leaders told reporters that the evidence submitted to NACC included cheating at five rice mills, adding that they wanted to conduct thorough checks but could not enter the rice mills, or they could be charged with intrusion.

They said they were discussing with the Lawyers Association of Thailand on the possibility of checking rice stocks in the state’s warehouses.

In the northern province of Uttaradit, governor Chat Kittinoppadol and representatives of the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives met with more than 500 disgruntled farmers who closed Highway 11 at Dong Chang Dee intersection which links Uttaradit and Phitsanulok provinces.

The farmers protested to demand overdue payments for their rice and said over 30,000 farmers have been waiting for the payments totaling Bt3.6 billion.

The governor promised to take action as soon as possible while farmers threatened to seal off Wang Si Sueb intersection of Highway 11 if they did not receive a satisfactory response within seven days.