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Ministry move to seize Bt20 bn in assets from ex-officials over ‘fake rice deals’

Feb 11. 2017
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By THE SUNDAY NATION

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THE COMMERCE Ministry will formally ask the Legal Execution Department this week to confiscate Bt20 billion from former officials held responsible for losses stemming from allegedly fake rice-export deals announced as part of the previous government’s rice-pledging scheme.

The decision was reached at a meeting yesterday between senior officials from the departments of Foreign Trade and Legal Execution, with the order to confiscate to be made on Tuesday – Valentine’s Day.

Duangporn Rodphaya, director general of Foreign Trade, said that both agencies had been working closely on the matter. 

She said that her department was gathering necessary documents required for seeking compensation from the people involved.

“We will be able to submit our request to the Legal Execution Department by February 14 for further proceedings,” she said.

Duangporn said yesterday her department was in the process of gathering information about assets of the six former officials, as part of the confiscation move.

“The two agencies are |working closely together to make sure the proper proceedings are followed. The goal is to ensure maximum benefit for the |country,” she said.

The Department of Foreign Trade is the damaged party.

Former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, his former deputy Poom Sarapol, plus Manas Soyploy, a former director-general of the Department of Foreign Trade, his former deputy Tikamporn Natvorathat, and Akrapong Theepvajara, ex-director of the Foreign Rice Trading Office, face civil lawsuits to recoup a combined Bt20-billion-plus over the alleged fake government-to-government |rice deals.

On Friday, they failed to obtain a court injunction from the Central Administrative Court against a government order to proceed with the controversial moves. 

Boonsong said he would appeal against the ruling.

Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, director-general of the Legal Execution Department, said that if the Department of Foreign Trade submitted the documents completely, her agency would go ahead with legal proceedings promptly.

Boonsong said confiscation of assets should not be executed at a time when a court case against him and other former Commerce officials was still underway, with no verdict |delivered yet.

“They should allow the defendants to complete their court battle before taking any action,” he said.

He said he would seek an injunction from the Administrative Court again if the Legal Execution Department notified him about imminent asset seizure.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party politician Warong Dejkitwigrom said the authorities involved should report to the public regularly on the progress of their moves to confiscate those assets, in order to ensure transparency in regard to this matter.

“It’s the duty of the Legal Execution Department to seize their assets until a future notice from the Administrative Court,” the politician said in a Facebook message.

 

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