Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on March 31 defended herself against negligence charges linked to her government’s rice pledging scheme, which was brought against her by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

NACC member Prasart Pongsivapal told the media that Yingluck asked for more time to call on 10 witnesses and to submit further documents to support her defence.

Yingluck has been charged with dereliction of duty for overseeing the rice-buying scheme, a policy that brought her to power in the 2011 election with the help of the rural poor but that has since run up huge losses and left hundreds of thousands of farmers unpaid.

If the commission officially accuses Yingluck, the case will be forwarded to the country’s Senate for possible impeachment, and Yingluck will be suspended from her official duties.

Prasart noted that the NACC will consider whether the 10 witnesses and documents relate to this scheme, and will act with impartiality towards the prime minister and in a straight-forward manner.-VNA