Anti-Corruption Commission Files Case Against FDA Chief

By Nyein Nyein 20 April 2018

The Anti-Corruption Commission of Myanmar on Friday filed a corruption case against the director-general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dr. Than Htut, the director-general of the FDA, which is under the Ministry of Sport and Health, is accused of demanding personal favors from a company that won a tender to build two laboratory buildings at the FDA’s Naypyitaw’s headquarters, as well as structures at 12 FDA district offices around the country.

The anti-graft agency has not disclosed the name of the company involved, but it is believed to be the Ye Taik Myotaw company.

According to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the case was opened against Dr. Than Htut under Article 56 of the Anti-Corruption Law of 2013 at Zabu Thiri Township police station. The agency said it had found that Dr. Than Htut abused his position to demand personal favors from the company in return for the contracts.

Article 56 states that, “Other than the Political Post Holder, if any other Authorized  Person  is  convicted for  committing  bribery; he/she shall  be  punished  with  imprisonment  for  a  term of not more than 10 years and with a fine.”

U Than Zaw Win, an ACC inspector, would act as plaintiff in the case, said commission spokesman U Han Nyunt. He declined to disclose how long the ACC had been investigating the FDA chief.

The commission receives about 500 complaints a month, according to the spokesman.

The ACC’s probe found that the director-general had demanded construction materials with which to build a house in Naypyitaw’s Shwe Kyar Pin quarter; as well as materials for another two-story building, a swimming pool and fencing in Ywar Thit village in Naypyitaw. All together, the materials were worth more than 151 million kyats.

Dr. Than Htut, 60, was trained as a civilian physician, and later served as a military doctor. He was also an assistant professor at the Yangon University of Public Health. He joined the FDA as deputy director-general in March 2015, and was later promoted to his current position.

This is the first case publicly announced by the ACC since the inauguration of President U Win Myint, who has vowed to crack down on bribery and corruption. At a meeting on April 12, the president urged ACC chairman U Aung Kyi and other members to step up their efforts against corruption. He also encouraged the ACC in its work during his speech to mark the traditional Myanmar New Year on Tuesday.

Moe Moe contributed to this report from Naypyitaw.