Thailand’s former PM sues attorney general

Bangkok, Sep 29 (IANS) Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday sued Attorney-General Trakul Winitnaiyaphak for alleged abuse of power in handling the case against her in connection with her government’s controversial rice pledging scheme.

In her lawsuit, Yingluck accused Trakul and three other prosecutors — Chutichai Sakhakorn, Surasak Treerattrakul and Kittinan Thatpramuk — of causing damage to others in their handling of the case against her in the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division, the Bangkok Post reported.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) of Thailand has accused the former prime minister of using the rice-pledging scheme to gain votes from farmers and win the national general election in 2011. If found guilty, she could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

The NACC concluded that the implementation of the rice scheme from 2011 to 2014 resulted in a posted loss of 518 billion baht (about $14 billion), meaning about 200 billion baht (about $5 billion) per year, and the state would take about three decades to repay the debts resulting from the loss incurred using the taxpayers’ money.

In January, she was impeached and banned from politics for five years.

In the lawsuit, Yingluck said there were three contentious points in the case against her which involved the rice-pledging scheme, the alleged dereliction of duty and the alleged corruption.

The attorney-general had failed to further investigate these points as required by the Criminal Procedures Code, thus putting her at a disadvantage, she said.

Instead, the attorney-general decided to indict her in the Supreme Court only an hour before the National legislative assembly voted to impeach her, Yingluck said.

After filing the case, Yingluck said she was exercising her right to defend herself.

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