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Thai PM gets 15-day breather before testifying

Posted on Mar 13 2014 | IANS

Bangkok, March 13 : Thai caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra got some relief Thursday after the country's National Anti- Corruption Commission (NACC) gave her 15 more days to prepare testimony over the alleged negligence of duty in the rice subsidy scheme.

NACC Secretary-General Sansern Poljiea said that the decision was made by the Commission Wednesday, the Bangkok Post reported Thursday.

Yingluck, who was due to give her testimony Friday, had sought through her legal team a 45-day postponement.

Yingluck's lawyer Norawit Lalaeng said Wednesday the premier's legal team had only managed to copy documents relating to the investigation Tuesday, leaving them with just two days to prepare a defence.

Norawit also claimed that the 49-page report framed by the agency does not contain full details of allegations against Yingluck.

He said the details relating to the allegations of rice-pledging, the distortion of rice market mechanisms or irregularities in rice storage expenses were inadequate.

Norawit said he believed the anti-graft agency's full report contained more than 49 pages, since the allegations involved the entire rice-pledging programme.

However, he said he was told by the NACC that it would only provide the 49-page dossier to him to examine.

Yingluck, who was also chairwoman of the National Rice Policy Committee, has been charged with dereliction of duty for failing to address allegations of corruption in the rice-pledging scheme.

The NACC announced its decision to charge Yingluck with dereliction of duty Feb 18.

She was originally scheduled to meet the NACC Feb 27 to answer the charges but the date was rescheduled to March 14 after she failed to appear in person.

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