Ms Apiradi said she needs time to consider the order carefully before signing it because it is a unique order and the rice-purchase deal was not common.
“This is a new issue and it is necessary to study it thoroughly as it will set a precedent for any similar cases in the future,” Ms Apiradi said.
“The current government wants to fix irregularities which have occurred in the past,” said the minister.
She reassured those seeking action against the six officials that the order would be signed, saying: “It is our duty to do so and must be done. Please be patient.”
Six former Commerce Ministry officials are believed to be linked to the alleged fraudulent sale of pledged government rice to two Chinese trading companies.
Suspicions surfaced when the National Anti-Corruption Commission found neither firm was authorised by Beijing to handle the deals.
The case is still being heard in the Supreme Court.
The officials are former commerce minister Mr Boonsong, his then-deputy Poom Sarapol, former secretary to the Commerce Ministry Weerawut Wajanaphukka, former Department of Foreign Trade (DFT) director-general Manas Soiploy, his then-deputy Tikhumporn Natvaratat and the DFT’s former director of foreign rice trade Akharapong Chuaikliang.
After the order is signed, the FTD will send copies to the six men, demanding they pay the compensation.
The letters must be sent before February next year, and upon receipt the six will have 90 days to appeal the order in the Administrative Court.
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