Bangkok, (Bangkok Post): The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) Thursday cleared Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of a false assets declaration charge, easing political jitters and boosting the stock market.
The charge involved a 30-million-baht loan to a company in which her husband was a shareholder.
NACC member Klanarong Chantik Thursday said the decision was based on the report of the Bureau of Asset Inspection which found Ms Yingluck had no intention of concealing the loan.
Concern over possible political complications from an unfavourable NACC ruling on Ms Yingluck’s case sent the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Index nosediving by 40.11 points after the bourse opened Thursday.
Earlier report: Markets like the news
However, the index rebounded to end the day at 1,528.46, or 7.96 points higher than the previous day’s close, after the NACC’s decision was announced.
Ms Yingluck had given 30-million-baht worth of loans to Ad Index, a company in which her husband Anusorn Amornchat was a shareholder, between Oct 6, 2006 and March 13, 2007.
The transaction details were allegedly inconsistent with her assets declaration reports lodged with the NACC on Aug 2, 2011 and Aug 10, 2011.
Mr Klanarong said the loan probe focused on five points and all the findings were favourable to the prime minister.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra: “I feel relieved and would like to reiterate that I had no intention to conceal anything in my disclosure to the NACC.”
According to Mr Klanarong, the NACC was suspicious the loan could have been a bogus transaction because the company had yet to repay the principal amount to Ms Yingluck.
However, the doubts were cleared up after it turned out that Ms Yingluck and the company had reached an agreement about repayments.
Under the agreement, the company would start paying interest when it had sufficient liquidity. Ad Index has made five interest payments so far, between September 2010 to April 2012.
“So, the 30-million-baht loan does exist, but there are no grounds to accuse the prime minister of deliberately submitting a false declaration of assets and liabilities to the anti-graft agency or concealing information,” Mr Klanarong said.
The NACC found that Ad Index made three borrowings – 20 million baht on Oct 6, 2006, 5 million baht on March 9, 2007 and another 5 million baht on March 13, 2007, and issued three promissory notes to Ms Yingluck.
The NACC investigators were interested in the first loan chunk of 20 million baht which did not appear in the company’s 2006 balance sheet.
But suspicion was dispelled after it found out that the firm’s fiscal year is from May to April. All three loan portions appeared in the company’s 2007 balance sheet.
The NACC investigators also found nothing wrong with the difference in interest rates stated in the promissory notes and the company’s balance sheet.
The interest rate for the 20-million-baht loan was 2.5% a year in the first two years while the interest rates for the other two chunks were based on Krung Thai Bank’s deposit rate of 3.75%.
The company’s 2007 balance sheet specified interest rates for the loan at 2.5-3.75%, a standard practice.
Mr Klanarong said the report’s findings would be used to compare with the prime minister’s assets declaration report when she leaves office.
Ms Yingluck said Thursday she felt relieved that she had been cleared.
However, the prime minister said her concerns remained because the NACC did not dismiss the case completely.
“I will have my legal team study the case to see why the NACC is still keeping the case,” she said.
In a separate move, the NACC Thursday agreed to set up a panel to investigate a group of politicians and senior police officers over their role in the 5.8-billion-baht project to build 396 police stations.
It will investigate Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in his capacity as former prime minister, Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban in his capacity as former deputy prime minister, Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong in his capacity as former deputy police chief, national police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, and Office of Logistics commissioner Pol Lt Gen Suporn Pansua.