Yesterday PPT posted on the junta’s bouts of fretting and fear about Thaksin Shinawatra that have seen attacks on political opponents, legal action against Yingluck Shinawatra and other members of the Shinawatra clan. The current round of trembling from the military dictatorship has resulted in legal maneuvering against Thaksin himself.
That seems insufficient for the military thugs. They have now rounded on Yingluck in ways that show the dictatorship’s disdain for rule of law and their love for rule by law (when it suits them, as it usually does).
The Bangkok Post reports that the junta plans to strip Yingluck of her personal assets, not via the courts, which would already be dubious under this illegal regime, but by administrative fiat.
The report states that the use of “an administrative order to claim the assets of … Yingluck … to compensate the state for losses incurred from her administration’s rice-pledging scheme [is]… a move which will bypass court procedures.”
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said “the administrative order is based on the findings by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) that pointed to gross negligence in the rice scheme, resulting in damages to the state.” Wissanu must have been smirking when he said: “If the defendants think the order is unfair, they can appeal to the Administrative Court to have it revoked…”.
Fat chance under the military’s boot.
Yingluck issued an open letter, saying that the government is trying to act like a court itself…”.
Wissanu dismissed her criticism saying the administrative order is required because, in his words: “If we took the case to the civil court as originally planned, we would have to compromise by charging her with a lesser offence. Since the NACC accused her of severe dereliction of duty, it has to be this way…”.
Yingluck’s letter follows:
To: General Prayuth Chan-ocha,
Head of the National Council for Peace and Order
I am writing an open letter to you because I haven’t had the opportunity to communicate with or meet you in person since you came into power as the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the Prime Minister over a year ago on 22 May 2014. Since then, I have been continuously mistreated related to the “Rice Subsidy Scheme”, which I had declared to the parliament on many occasions;
1. National Legislative Assembly (NLA) impeached and removed me from the position of Prime Minister although at the time I was not in that position because I had already resigned and also was disqualified of the position by the Constitutional Court.
2. The Attorney General held a press conference stating his decision to indict and prosecute me to the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions just a mere “one hour” before NLA’s impeachment.
You may reject an issue and state that these are not relevant to your responsibility since these two matters are in the hands of the NLA and the Attorney General. However, the following matter will be in your direct authority.
Regarding the Order no.448/2558 signed by you and the Minister of Finance dated April 3rd, 2015 under the subject of “the Appointment of the Fact Finding Committee”, you have appointed a committee to find out whether anybody must be responsible to pay compensation to the government for the damages incurred from the Rice Subsidy Scheme. In this matter, you spoke to the press insisting that if someone was found responsible for damages, compensations must be claimed.
You also emphasized that “if the fact finding indicates that if someone is guilty, then the conclusion is guilty. If the fact finding suggests otherwise, then the conclusion would be not guilty. If guilty, the due process shall be followed in filing for civil claim. Single standard is applied for all parties to ensure justice in an equitable manner.”
I sincerely hope you assigned the Fact Finding Committee to investigate the case under due process of law to provide “Justice” and adhere strictly to the due process without any unnecessary acceleration to conclude the findings. I hope that you will ensure fair and just opportunity for related persons to present evidences.
I feel worried because one of your legal advisors had publicly stated that it was conducive to claiming damages in the civil case which would cost enormous court fees to the government although the way normally used to claim for damages and to bring the case to the court is the best way to maintain justice.
However, your legal advisor tried to “misinterpret the law and legal mechanism” to claim for damages by advising you to issue administrative order, forcing me to pay for damages and to seize my asset just to avoid the court fees. By exercising the Administrative Order, you do not even have to consult the cabinet. It means that you are using your power as if you were a judge while the criminal case trial is still under the legal process in court.
I am making this statement as the former Prime Minister who was in charge of the Rice Subsidy Scheme that was aimed at enhancing the living conditions of the Thai farmers, who are responsible for the production of our nation’s commodity. The scheme was also vital in addressing issues in the rice price and market mechanism. I performed my duties with the utmost dedication to ensure that it led to the economic and social advancement of the nation. The scheme was managed under the position of Chairman of National Rice Policy’s Committee during my term as it is with you in the same position today.
I believe all people are entitled to a fair trial in court which is fundamental to the rule of law. The Rice Subsidy Scheme was a public policy that was declared to the parliament and the implementation of the scheme was compulsory administrative act. The Scheme legally binds all related government departments to its execution. Therefore, the claim process of civil charge must be transparent and fair. You, as the Prime Minister and as the Chairman of National Rice Policy Committee, are currently addressing rice issues in disagreement of my rice policy. This means that you are a “stakeholder” and cannot possibly offer “unbiased” views on the matter. Therefore, exercising the Prime Minister power as a judge to order a civil claim without the court’s decision is definitely against the rule of law.
To proceed in accordance to the rule of laws, I propose to you as follow:
1. Reconsider and terminate any executions regarding the Rice Subsidy Scheme’s civil claim proposed by your legal advisors and signed by the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the National Rice Policy Committee at the present which are unfair and is subject to conflicts of interest.
2. After the court’s ruling in the criminal case, the government should file a civil claim through the court in order to be just to the accused if found guilty.
3. The trial at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions is still not final. Your legal advisor stated that the case’s statute of limitation still have enough ongoing time. The government should not accelerate or shortcut the fact finding procedure for the case. To be fair and just, you should provide sufficient opportunities for related persons to testify and present their evidences. I have sent many requests to you and the Fact Finding Committee asking for the opportunity to present evidences but many requests have not been considered and examined.
Finally, I have asked my lawyer to submit the formal letter in this matter to you on Tuesday October 13th, 2015 at 10.00 a.m. at the government’s Information and Complaint Channel. I sincerely hope that when you receive this letter, you would not simply ignore it but consider my request in a just manner since you have always claimed that you will ensure equal justice for all.
Former Prime Minister of Thailand
12th October 2015