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Thai PM Yingluck ousted over rice-buying catastrophe

THAILAND’S anti-graft commission indicted ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today on charges of dereliction of duty in overseeing a widely criticised rice subsidy programme.

Ms Shinawatra was accused of allowing the rice-buying programme to proceed despite advice that it was potentially wasteful and prone to corruption.

The government eventually lost billions of dollars on the subsidy plan.

National Anti-Corruption Commission chief Panthep Klanarongran said the agency had voted unanimously that there were grounds to indict her.

“The NACC submitted letters to warn the defendant twice that the project would create problems and incur great losses, as well as allowing corruption throughout every step of the scheme,” said commissioner Vicha Mahakun. 

“Yet the defendant did not consider suspending the project.”

The ex-prime minister, who was ousted from her job by the country’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday, now faces an impeachment vote by the Senate. 

If impeached and found guilty, Ms Shinawatra would be barred from politics for five years.

The anti-corruption commission is also looking at filing criminal charges.

Wednesday’s ruling accomplished most of what anti-government demonstrators have sought to do for the past six months and protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban told his followers yesterday that they would stage a “final offensive” today to achieve their goal of fully ousting the government.

But Shinawatra supporters, known as the Red Shirts, have called for a huge rally tomorrow to show support for the government, which won a landslide victory in 2011 elections.

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