BKK Post : Three milling firm execs face fraud charges

riceTaken from an article called “Three milling firm execs face fraud charges” by Bangkok Post Reporters on 27th June 2013.

The Phichit provincial court has approved warrants for the arrest of three executives of a rice milling company for alleged fraud, a senior police officer says. Nattariya Boonkua, Munin Chantra, and Nattakit Ananchalin, of L-Gold Manufacture Co, face charges relating to the disappearance of 12,000 tonnes of rice acquired by the company under the government’s pledging scheme, Phichit police chief Krisana said Wednesday.

Four people have now been linked to the case. Amnart Ditsathian, a rice broker for the company, earlier turned himself in to police to acknowledge charges against him of swindling the public.Police said 12,000 tonnes of rice have been declared as missing from warehouses operated by L-Gold, up from the 8,000 tonnes believed earlier.About 200 farmers pledged their rice with L-Gold. Many of the farmers were not issued with prathuan papers, he said. Farmers need to present the papers at banks to claim payment for the rice they pledged, he said.

A total of 96 rice farmers in Muang district have been affected by the missing rice scandal, Pol Maj Gen Krisana said. They pledged a combined 1,900 tonnes of rice worth about 23 million baht, he added. More than 70 of them have so far filed complaints. However, in Pho Thale district, just five farmers have lodged complaints. Numerous others fear they will not receive any money for their rice if they take legal action against the millers. Thawat Boonfueng, the prime minister’s deputy secretary-general, said the government will inspect all 2,506 warehouses in 50 provinces taking part in the rice-pledging scheme.

Meanwhile, about 300 rice farmers in the southern provinces of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung and Songkhla gathered in front of Wat Bo Lor in Chiang Yai district Wednesday. In a petition, they called on the government to restore the 15,000 baht pledging price and extend the programme for the current crop from September to Nov 30.

“We are here to support the pledging scheme and believe the government will be true to its promise of keeping the paddy price at 15,000 baht per tonne,” Suthep Khongmak, leader of the southern farmers association, said.

A source from the Pheu Thai Party said Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom had apologised to party MPs for failing to inform them of his plan to cut the pledge price. Many MPs blame Mr Boonsong for failing to explain the rice issue clearly after they suffered a backlash from constituents, the source said.

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