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Over 800 probe teams to be formed to investigate rice pledging scam

A total of 853 panels will have to be formed to investigate hundreds of officials in 33 provinces implicated in alleged corruption in connection with the Yingluck government's rice pledging scheme, said Mr Prayong Preeyachit, secretary-general of the Government Sector's Anti-Corruption Office, on Tuesday.

Hundreds of officials of the Public Warehouse Organization, the Marketing Organization for Farmers and the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives were implicated in 853 cases of alleged corruption.

Since each case will have to be handed by a separate panel, Mr Prayong said he would seek an approval from the GSACO's board for the setting up of the 853 panels which must complete their probes in six months.

He said the separation of so many cases and so many probe panels would not cause a delay in the investigation as information was already available and could be shared among the panels.

Mr Prayong clarified that his office's investigation mainly concerned field officials and private individuals such as millers whereas the investigation undertaken by the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Auditor-General's Office concerns policy-making officials and politicians.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)