Former Thai PM Yingluck cleared in major corruption case

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Case Division for Holders of Political Positions yesterday delivered a resounding verdict, absolving Yingluck Shinawatra and five co-defendants of malfeasance and corruption allegations.

The charges stemmed from the allocation of a hefty 240-million-baht campaign budget aimed at promoting the Yingluck government’s ambitious 2-trillion-baht infrastructure projects.

Commenting on the verdict, Thanaporn Sriyakul, director of the Political and Public Policy Analysis Institute, pointed out potential legal avenues that could pave the way for Yingluck’s return. He highlighted recent regulations concerning parole and inmate detention outside prison, suggesting that these factors might influence Yingluck’s decision.

Thanaporn alluded to the infamous rice-pledging case that shadows Yingluck’s legacy.

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“It’s plausible that Yingluck will follow a similar path as Thaksin but her return hinges on various factors, including her willingness to face punishment and the possibility of a royal pardon.”

The court’s unanimous decision, voting 9-0 in favour of acquittal, dealt a blow to the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s accusations against Yingluck and her co-defendants. Notably, the court also rescinded the arrest warrant previously issued for Yingluck in connection with this case.

The crux of the legal dispute revolved around allegations of impropriety in awarding contracts for the Roadshow to Thailand’s Future Thailand 2020 campaign. The prosecution argued that Yingluck and her associates bypassed public tenders, favouring select companies for the project. However, the court found no evidence of bias or wrongdoing, asserting that the budget allocation adhered to procurement regulations, reported Bangkok Post.

Moreover, the court underscored the approval of Yingluck’s government projects by relevant authorities at the time, dismissing claims of misappropriation or wasteful expenditure. This latest acquittal adds to Yingluck’s legal victories, including her exoneration in a 2011 controversy over a National Security Council appointment.

Nevertheless, the spectre of the rice-pledging scandal still looms large over Yingluck’s legacy. Fleeing in 2017 following a conviction in the rice-pledging programme, Yingluck remains a fugitive with an active arrest warrant.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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