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Court panel to mull injunction over asset seizure order in rice case

Dec 28. 2016
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THE CENTRAL Administrative Court has appointed a panel to consider an injunction against an order for the seizure of assets belonging to former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and deputy minister Bhumi Saraphol for their alleged roles in a government rice scandal.

Boonsong and Bhumi are facing civil lawsuits and a Commerce Ministry order to pay Bt1.77 billion and Bt2.3 billion in compensation for damage to the state. 

The two men were accused of being behind fake government-to-government rice sales while the Yingluck government was implementing its rice-pledging scheme, which resulted in over Bt500 billion in losses to the state.

Boonsong and Bhumi petitioned the court to temporarily stay the asset confiscation on the grounds that they would be injured suffer if the authorities hastily proceeded with the order and the auctioning off of the assets to gain the funds for compensation. 

The Commerce Ministry’s representative also attended the court’s hearing yesterday to clarify the ministry’s legal position on this case.

The seven-judge panel will hear both sides before deciding whether to issue the injunction to protect the interests of the defendants while the court considers the defendants’ petition against the asset confiscation order. 

According to the civil code, the Legal Execution Department will be responsible for enforcing the Commerce Ministry’s order. 

Besides Boonsong and Bhumi, other former Commerce Ministry officials are facing massive lawsuits seeking Bt40 billion to cover damages caused by the phoney rice contracts.

Bogus G2G rice deals with Chinese state enterprises were announced while the Yingluck government was implementing the rice-mortgaging scheme to give the public the impression that China would buy a large quantity of Thai rice while the previous government purchased an unlimited volume of rice from farmers under the controversial scheme. 

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra also faces a similar civil lawsuit.

The Commerce Ministry yesterday lodged an objection with the court to Boonsong’s and Bhumi’s requests for the injunction.

Boonsong, who attended the hearing, said that if the court issued the injunction, the government would have to suspend its asset confiscation action until the court makes its final ruling on the validity of the legal move against him.

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