Thailand's anti-graft agency has called for corruption charges against a former commerce minister and his deputy for allegedly committing fraud in a government-to-government rice sale.

National Anti-Corruption Commissioner Wicha Mahakhun said Tuesday an investigation found the pair, along with 17 government officials and businessmen, sold rice from the Thai government's stockpile to a Chinese company that did not represent the mainland government.

Wicha said the sale, which was supposed to take place between the two governments, caused serious losses to Thailand.

Thailand accumulated a large rice stockpile during the term of the government that was ousted in a coup last May.

It bought rice from farmers at above-market prices but faced losses when selling the grain on the world market. The program accumulated losses of at least $4.4 billion.