Former Thai PM Yingluck sues Attorney-General

Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, on trial for allegedly mishandling her government's rice subsidy scheme, sued the Attorney-General on Tuesday (Sept 29) for his conduct in the case.
Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, on trial for allegedly mishandling her government's rice subsidy scheme, sued the Attorney-General on Tuesday (Sept 29) for his conduct in the case.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK - Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, on trial for allegedly mishandling her government's rice subsidy scheme, sued Attorney-General Trakul Winitnaiyaphak on Tuesday (Sept 29) for his conduct in the case.

Ms Yingluck faces up to 10 years jail in if she is found guilty of negligence in an ongoing trial at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions over the now defunct rice pledging scheme.

In her lawsuit filed at Bangkok's Criminal Court on Tuesday morning, she alleged that the Attorney-General indicted her "without sufficient examination of materials, evidence and witnesses that were deemed relevant and valuable to the case".

He had also included some 60,000 pages of material that were not present in previous investigations on her, which she charged was illegal.

In late August, Ms Yingluck had petitioned for the Supreme Court to delay the trial and reject these additional documents as well as witnesses presented by the state prosecutors. That request was turned down.

The Criminal Court will now decide within seven days whether to accept Ms Yingluck's lawsuit.

Thailand's first female prime minister was elected in 2011 on the back of policy pledges popular with its upcountry supporters, the centerpiece of which was the rice pledging scheme. Under the programme, the government bought an unlimited amount of rice from farmers at about 50 per cent above the market price. But critics allege it was riddled with corruption and it is estimated to have cost about 500 billion baht (S$20 billion).

Ms Yingluck was ousted from premiership by a Constitutional Court ruling in May last year, shortly before the remnants of her government was toppled by a military coup.

But even before her ouster, the National Anti-Corruption Commission had declared her guilty of negligence over the rice pledging scheme. This was the grounds on which she was retroactively impeached in January this year by a military-appointed legislature, resulting in a five-year ban on politics.

She is now facing a criminal trial over the same issue.

tanhy@sph.com.sg