Rice scandal: PM charged, bank boss resigns — Thailand’s National Anti Corruption Commission (NACC) on Tuesday summoned caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to hear formal corruption charges in her alleged involvement in government (G2G) rice sale irregularities, according to reports.
Earlier this month the Chinese government pulled out of a rice scandal deal with the Thai government when the NACC started investigating the rice programme.
The charges against Ms Yingluck are reportedly for abuse of power causing corruption and malfeasance. The first charge could result in her impeachment.
In more fallout over the controversial rice-pledging scheme, Government Savings Bank (GSB) president Worawit Chailimpamontri announced his resignation on Tuesday as a show of responsibility for the mass withdrawals sparked by an inter-bank loan to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), which is widely believed to be intended to pay farmers overdue money from the loss-ridden rice scheme, reported the Bangkok Post.
Customers flocked to GSB bank branches on Monday and withdrew over 30 billion baht (US$924 million) on Monday alone, and withdrawals continued on Tuesday. Many of the withdrawals were evidently from anti-government customers angry that the GSB was being used, in their view, to bail out the government in the rice scheme.
Also on Tuesday, core members of the ruling Pheu Thai Party visited GSB branches to deposit money into the bank in an effort to counter the massive withdrawals, said reports.
Ms Yingluck went on national television earlier Tuesday and accused the anti-government factions of holding the farmers hostage as part of a political game being played out.
She defended the rice scheme, claiming the game-playing and manipulation of her opponents was making it difficult for the caretaker government to implement the rice programme, which she said was popular.
Tuesday also saw clashes between police and anti-government protesters in Bangkok which left four people dead and 64 injured as security forces tried to retake several rally sites from demonstrators. Rice scandal Image/AP