Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said on January 16 that it would investigate a rice price subsidy programme of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The commission said the PM will be probed for her alleged negligence duty as chairwoman of the National Rice Policy Committee, which oversees the scheme.

According to the NACC’s spokesperson Vicha Mahakun, the commission decided to bring formal corruption charges against other 15 people involved in the programme, including a former commerce minister.

Critics say corruption is rife in the scheme and that it has cost taxpayers as much as 12.9 million USD, although that figure would drop if the government managed to find buyers for the rice in State stockpiles.

The decision was made in the context that since January 13, demonstrators have swarmed main intersections in Bangkok in their latest bid to force PM Yingluck to resign, demanding the establishment of a “people’s council” to replace her government.

The same day, opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban challenged the Thai authorities to arrest him, saying he is “ready” for this. The leader also said protesters will not compromise or accept negotiations.

Meanwhile, Thai police said the scale of marches has been contracted as less people have went down the streets on those days.-VNA