Bangkok, July 27 (IANS) Thailand’s military junta on Thursday approved freezing of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s bank accounts over her alleged responsibility for the loss of a government subsidy plan, for which she has been undergoing a trial.
The step was taken after the Ministry of Finance asked Yingluck to pay a fine of 35.7 billion baht ($1 billion) to compensate for alleged losses incurred through her government’s rice subsidy scheme, reports Efe news.
The action was also taken before Yingluck concluded her defence on Tuesday in her trial for her alleged negligence in supervising the subsidy scheme.
The junta head and incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha acknowledged that the accounts were frozen, but he disassociated it from the judicial process.
Prayuth, who led the coup d’etat that deposed the government headed by Yingluck in 2014, said the former leader must respond to the losses despite the fact that the judicial process has not yet found her guilty.
Prayuth admitted to freezing the accounts a day after he said they were just preparing the measure in the event of Yingluck’s conviction in the sentence to be pronounced on August 25.
The former Prime Minister refuted his claim on Wednesday night by tweeting that her money had already been confiscated.
Yingluck was ousted after a controversial ruling of the Constitutional Court accused her of abuse of power for influencing the release of a high-ranking official just days before the coup.
In January, the National Assembly banned Yingluck retroactively from politics for five years over the same charge of mismanaging the rice scheme.
Yingluck was voted into power in 2011 with an absolute parliamentary majority as she led the Puea Thai Party, created by her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed in a previous coup in 2006 and who has been in self-exile in Dubai since 2008, avoiding a two-year jail sentence for abuse of power.