Asia Pacific / Politics

Former Thai leader Yingluck ordered to pay $1 billion compensation over rice scheme

Kyodo

Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s ousted former prime minister and sister of fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said Friday she has received an administrative order from the Finance Ministry on Wednesday, seeking 35.7 billion baht ($1.01 billion) in compensation over a controversial rice-pledging scheme.

The order, signed by Deputy Finance Minister Wisudhi Srisuphan and Permanent Secretary Somchai Sujjapongse on Oct. 13 and received by Yingluck on Wednesday, details allegations and losses to the government which occurred from the scheme.

It demands Yingluck pay the money to the ministry within 30 days, and allows her the right to appeal within 90 days if she does not agree with the order.

Though Yingluck said she would not make any statements during the mourning period following King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death last week, a statement released by her on Friday said the order “has violated my rights and is not fair.”

“I affirm that I will exercise all my rights to deny these allegations and civil charges,” her statement read.

Yingluck was ousted by a military coup led by then head of the army and current Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha in May 2014 after months of political gridlock in the country.

The former premier is being tried in court over several charges including those related to the rice-pledging scheme, which she described as “a public policy, which aimed to help farmers.”

The scheme, which was launched in October 2011 as part of a Pheu Thai party election promise, allegedly resulted in $15.8 billion in losses for the country. Critics say farmers were paid overly high rates for their rice.

Yingluck was impeached and faces a five-year ban from politics.

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