Former Thai PM ordered to repay $8.1 billion for failed rice scheme

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YingluckFormer Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, ousted in 2014 by a coup d’etat,  on May 13 was held accountable to pay around $8.1 billion in compensation for losses to a disputed rice subsidy programme implemented during her tenure.

Chirachai Multongroey, deputy undersecretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, charged during the Supreme Court’s hearing on a misconduct case involving the rice programme that the former leader was “legally obliged” to pay compensation for losses amounting to $8.1 billion through the scheme which was allegedly plagued by draft and was badly organised.

Yingluck has been accused of failing to stop misconduct or to entirely terminate the programme despite being warned of the potential damage for the state, estimated in the end to have exceeded a total of $14 billion.

Under the rice-pledging programme, a key pillar in Yingluck’s Pheu Thai Party election platform to entice rural voters, the government bought all rice from farmers at prices 40 to 50 per cent above prevailing market rates. The aim of the programme was to control supply and push up export prices.

However, the world market was already experiencing an oversupply at the time and the scheme backfired badly on Thailand. Authorities also believe there was rampant corruption in the reporting of rice transactions.

The state consequently built up huge stockpiles that led to storage problems and deterioration of the rice. Sales had to take place at substantial losses. The Yingluck administration is also accused of arranging fake government-to-government rice sales that resulted in further damage.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, ousted in 2014 by a coup d’etat,  on May 13 was held accountable to pay around $8.1 billion in compensation for losses to a disputed rice subsidy programme implemented during her tenure.

Reading Time: 1 minute

YingluckFormer Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, ousted in 2014 by a coup d’etat,  on May 13 was held accountable to pay around $8.1 billion in compensation for losses to a disputed rice subsidy programme implemented during her tenure.

Chirachai Multongroey, deputy undersecretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, charged during the Supreme Court’s hearing on a misconduct case involving the rice programme that the former leader was “legally obliged” to pay compensation for losses amounting to $8.1 billion through the scheme which was allegedly plagued by draft and was badly organised.

Yingluck has been accused of failing to stop misconduct or to entirely terminate the programme despite being warned of the potential damage for the state, estimated in the end to have exceeded a total of $14 billion.

Under the rice-pledging programme, a key pillar in Yingluck’s Pheu Thai Party election platform to entice rural voters, the government bought all rice from farmers at prices 40 to 50 per cent above prevailing market rates. The aim of the programme was to control supply and push up export prices.

However, the world market was already experiencing an oversupply at the time and the scheme backfired badly on Thailand. Authorities also believe there was rampant corruption in the reporting of rice transactions.

The state consequently built up huge stockpiles that led to storage problems and deterioration of the rice. Sales had to take place at substantial losses. The Yingluck administration is also accused of arranging fake government-to-government rice sales that resulted in further damage.

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