Burma

Anti-Corruption Commission to Review Complaint Calling for Investigation of Losses of Public Funds

By San Yamin Aung 15 October 2018

YANGON—The Anti-Corruption Commission said it will act on a request for an investigation into state losses of billions of kyats of public funds which was revealed in a recent report by Yangon Region’s auditor general.

The findings of the auditor general’s report on the Yangon government’s budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year—submitted to the parliament in September—has not only stoked heated discussions among lawmakers in the parliament, but also attracted much public attention to the huge loss of public funds, including through the leasing of state land and buildings to private companies at rates well below standard commercial rents.

Former Yangon regional lawmaker Daw Nyo Nyo Thinn, who is also a founder of Yangon Watch, an independent governance-monitoring group, filed the complaint to the Anti-Corruption Commission calling for an investigation into the losses of public funds stated in the report.

In the complaint filed to the commission, she listed five cases including a loss of 41.97 billion kyats ($26.3 million) of public funds through the granting of one thousand acres of land to some private businessmen; a loss of 9.2 billion kyats ($5.8 million) in a project on 45th Street in Botahtaung Township; a loss of one billion kyats ($626,000) per month in leasing land in People’s Park to a private company at a very low rate and losses of two billion kyats ($1.3 million) per year in leasing land in Kandawgyi, Kandawmin and Myainghaywun parks in Yangon.

Daw Nyo Nyo Thin said she picked these five as solid cases for investigation among many other controversies in the report.

The former lawmaker said the auditor general’s reports of losses of public funds, during both the current government and the previous government, have been discussed in parliament but no actions were ever taken nor investigations instigated.

“For a long time, the state has been losing huge public funds which could be used in projects including providing health services as well as building affordable housing,” she said.

The five cases listed in the complaint included those which were initiated by the previous government and renewed under the current government.

“I want the commission to investigate those who are responsible for [the mismanagement of public funds] and take action against them,” she said.

U Kyaw Soe, spokesperson of the commission, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that they will scrutinize whether the complaint complies with anti-corruption laws first and then decide whether to carry out an investigation into the complaint.

However, the spokesperson said he couldn’t give the exact timeframe for when they intend to make a decision on whether to conduct the investigation.

“We are receiving at least 70 complaints per day. We need to scrutinize all of those, so it could take more than one week,” he said.

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