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Ombudsman Threatens Criminal Probe if Toxic Chemical Ban Delayed

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Gen Viddhavat said, if the NACC finds evidence of wrongdoing over the chemical ban the agency could recommend the Criminal Court to indict them.

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Thailand’s Chief Ombudsman has warned the National Hazardous Substances Committee (NHSC) of the consequences it will have to face if it chooses to disregard a panel’s recommendation to ban the use of three toxic farming chemicals.

Chief Ombudsman Viddhavat Rajatanun said that as the NHSC has the final authority to institute the chemical ban. It needs to have “a sound reason” if it decides to ignore the recommendation of the four-party panel. The panel was comprised of representatives from the government, importers of the chemicals, farmers and consumer groups.

Toxic Chemicals Chlorpyrifos, Paraquat and Glyphosate

“If [NHSC] decides to maintain its current stance on the chemicals paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos, its members could be investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission for acting against public interests,” he said.

Gen Viddhavat said, if the NACC finds evidence of wrongdoing the agency could recommend the Criminal Court to indict them.

“They could also face disciplinary probes,” he said, before adding that his office will be closely monitoring the NHSC’s maneouvres.

Gen Viddhavat also slammed the NHSC for reportedly holding a closed-door meeting. Disagreeing to ban the toxic farming chemicals.

Saying the NHSC should think about the health and safety of all Thai people.

He also said that the priority is now to remove the three chemicals in question from the market.

Gen Viddhavat praised the four-party committee, chaired by Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Mananya Thaiset, for having come to an agreement on the ban.

Ms Mananya said the four-party committee has set a deadline of Dec 1 for the Chemical ban to come into effect. However the NHSC needs to endorses the decision on the toxic chemicals. There will be no extensions of the deadline.

Source: Bangkok Post