NACC clears Yingluck of negligence during Great Flood

Then prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra visits flood victims in Ayutthaya province in October 2011. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has resolved that former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was not negligent in failing to prevent the massive damage caused by the flooding in 2011 when her government was in power.

The floods caused damage estimated at more than 350 billion baht.

NACC president Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said on Wednesday the commissioners found that the damage was caused by a natural disaster.

Ms Yingluck, as prime minister, had taken the correct administrative steps, but natural disasters were unpredictable. Ms Yingluck was therefore not negligent in her duty in failing to manage the huge volume of water and prevent the damage. 

Pol Gen Watcharapol said there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Ms Yingluck was at fault. No one could be identified as being responsible for the flooding, because it was a natural event.

“There were several storms. The NACC thinks it is not necessary to find anyone responsible for the flooding. As per the evidence, no one was at fault,” he said.

Ms Yingluck was not present or available for comment. She has not been seen publicly or heard from since failing to show up at the Supreme Court to hear the ruling in her rice-pledging scheme trial on Aug 25, and is believed to have fled the country. 

The NACC is also investigating alleged dereliction of duty by 34 cabinet members in the former Yingluck Shinawatra administration, including the former premier herself. A finding is expected by the end of the month.

Ms Yingluck and 33 of her cabinet ministers were accused of failing to perform their duties as required under 1957 legislation on budget processes, when they approved the payment of financial compensation totalling 1.9 billion baht to people damaged during political demonstrations from 2005 to 2010.

They were accused of paying the compensation to people seen as their political supporters even though they did not have the authority to do so, as there was no law allowing it.

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