Court summons more witnesses in rice corruption case

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BANGKOK– Additional witnesses have been summoned by the Court in the latest hearing of the rice fraud case against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

During the deliberation of the rice corruption case, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions called in three more witnesses on the plaintiff’s side. The three consisted of Mr Vichai Sriprasert, Honorary President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association; Mr Rawee Rungruang, leader of the Thai Farmers Network; and Pol Lt Gen Yutthana Thaipakdee, former chairman of the Senate subcommittee overseeing the examination of rice trade.

In his testimony, Mr Vichai stated that the Yingluck administration’s claim to have made a government-to-government (G2G) agreement on rice trade with China was entirely fabricated. He said no representatives from the Chinese government had ever signed such a deal, suggesting it had been signed by an imposter. It also appeared that China had never purchased 2 million tons of rice from Thailand’s old stocks as reported.

Mr Vichai also disclosed that even though the Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade conducted the signing on behalf of the Thai government, the move had been directly ordered by the then-Prime Minister.