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Thailand

Ousted Thai PM Shinawatra faces Senate impeachment over rice subsidy scheme

Ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been indicted for negligence in a rice subsidy scheme that incurred billions in losses. The case comes a day after she lost her position in the wake of a corruption case.

Thailand's anti-corruption commission chief, Panthep Klanarongran, confirmed on Thursday that the ousted prime minister could face impeachment over a failed rice scheme subsidy, which cost Bangkok at least $4.4 billion (3.16 billion euros).

"The committee has investigated and there is enough evidence to make a case. We will now forward it to the Senate," Klanarongran said.

The case could lead to an impeachment of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra by the Senate, after which she would be barred from politics for five years.

There was no immediate comment available from Yingluck.

Ousted for abuse of power

The latest charges came a day after Thailand's Constitutional Court found her guilty on abuse of power charges and removed her from her position as caretaker prime minister. The case surrounded her illegal replacement of then-national security chief Thawil Pliensri with a relative in 2011 following her election.

The court ruled that she had used her status as prime minister to make the appointment for her own benefit, a charge she had denied.

Yingluck has faced mass anti-government protests during the past six months over other corruption allegations, including the rice subsidy scheme that returned to the spotlight on Thursday. Critics also accuse her of acting as a proxy for her exiled brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The political upheaval has left at least 25 people dead and hundreds more injured.

Thailand currently has only a caretaker government. Following snap elections in February, the Constitutional Court nullified the results because protesters had disrupted the polls. Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan was appointed prime minister on Wednesday by Yingluck's cabinet after she was forced to step down.

kms/mz (AP, AFP, dpa)

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