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Fmr Thai PM found guilty, sentenced to prison

27 September 2017 02:04 pm - 10     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Thailand's Supreme Court has sentenced former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to five years' jail after finding her guilty of negligence over a rice subsidy scheme her government set up to help farmers.

Nine judges were still delivering the verdict on Wednesday when news of the sentence leaked to Thai media.

The sentence will anger millions of supporters in Yingluck's "Red-Shirt" movement ahead of elections promised next year by the military that staged a coup to topple her democratically elected government after months of political unrest in 2014.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army general who led the coup, said on Tuesday he knew where Yingluck was hiding but refused to divulge where until after Wednesday's hearing.

"I have my own spies. I have information but I can't say it out aloud," he said, adding she had not sought asylum in another country.

Yingluck dramatically fled the country a month ago. Three senior policemen have been investigated but not charged for allegedly helpingher escape to the Cambodian border in a car with counterfeit plates.

Yingluck, who was previously active on social media, has made no public comment since leaving Thailand.

Thailand's Supreme Court has sentenced former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to five years' jail after finding her guilty of negligence over a rice subsidy scheme her government set up to help farmers.

Mr Prayuth urged Thais to remain calm over the case which appears to have finally crushed the Shinawatra family whose movement won the last five general elections, making it the most dominant force in Thai politics for more than a decade.

"No-one should be alarmed," Mr Prayuth said.

Under the rice scheme Yingluck's government bought rice from farmers at above-market prices in an attempt to manipulate the global grain market.

The program collapsed as neighbouring countries increased production and stockpiles of rice rotted in Thai warehouses.

The military government said losses amounted to $US8 billion ($10 billion).

Only about 75 of Yingluck's supporters turned up at the court on Wednesday compared to thousands who risked arrest to show their support at earlier court hearings.

Yingluck and Thaksin claim they are victims of a witch-hunt by Bangkok's military, royalists, middle class and elite establishment.

Thaksin, a billionaire businessman who enemies accuse of being corrupt, has compared the Thai military government to tyrants.

Yingluck's trial was seen as a showcase for Thailand's national divide, which looks increasingly irreconcilable.

Prosecutors alleged Yingluck's government ignored numerous written warnings from the auditor-general and the country's anti-corruption commission about the rice program's risks and irregularities.

But no corruption allegations were levelled against her in the case.

Yingluck earlier told the court she did not terminate the program because it was never intended to generate revenue but to raise the incomes of farmers, and she forwarded the warnings to relevant government agencies.

A subsequent investigation found no irregularities, she said.

Even before the trial, authorities hit Yingluck with a $US1 billion fine over the program and seized her 16 bank accounts.

Other former governments have implemented similar popular rice subsidy schemes but none collapsed at a cost of billions of dollars.

A former commerce minister in Yingluck's government was jailed for 42 years in August for falsifying government-to-government rice deals in connection with the scheme.(BBC)

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  Comments - 10

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  • BuffaloaCitizen Wednesday, 27 September 2017 02:19 PM

    Will she get bail in three days, like it happens here?

    KOLA KOTIYA Wednesday, 27 September 2017 02:31 PM

    PLS APPEAL FOR HC YOU WILL GET BAIL AS IN SRI LANKA

    Ian Wednesday, 27 September 2017 03:43 PM

    This is Military government's corrupted case. The lawyers asked " if that program worked, then would she get any money or reward as the prime minister?

    karthik Wednesday, 27 September 2017 04:22 PM

    Can we see this sort of things happening in Sri Lanka?

    daham Wednesday, 27 September 2017 06:22 PM

    Of course we are eagerly waiting to see what will be the verdict for Central Bank Bond Robbers.

    Nina Kamal Wednesday, 27 September 2017 04:49 PM

    Soothing to the eyes to read!!! This is how a country will prosper, bringing wrong doers to books!

    daham Wednesday, 27 September 2017 06:26 PM

    Shinawathras are the most popular political leaders of Thailand. Low Income and Middle Income majority remember how they were benefited from Takshin government.

    Dee Wednesday, 27 September 2017 05:12 PM

    Didn't she have a secretary or some department chairman to use as scapegoat?

    ceylon Wednesday, 27 September 2017 06:15 PM

    she followed lanka sil redy robery. via DM Android App

    PoP Thursday, 28 September 2017 11:52 AM

    She is in Dubai? They have to ask interpole to arrest


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