The Irrawaddy

Chairman Defends Anti-Graft Body After Dismissing Claims Against Ex-Minister

Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman U Aung Kyi.

NAYPYITAW — The Anti-Corruption Commission will not forgive anyone if there is strong evidence of graft, commission Chairman U Aung Kyi said at a press conference in Naypyitaw on Saturday.

“We are obliged to take legal action against anyone if there is strong evidence that they were involved in corruption after this [anti-corruption] law took effect. So I’d like to request the aggrieved party or those who witness corruption to file complaints with strong evidence,” U Aung Kyi said.

The commission had just announced that it would not be pursuing legal action against former Planning and Finance Minister U Kyaw Win — who resigned last month amid reports that he was under investigation for taking bribes — for a lack of evidence.

The chairman also warned that the commission would file defamation charges, under Article 59 of the Anti-Corruption Law, against those who file complaints with the intention of defaming someone.

U Aung Kyi said the commission has been able to alleviate some of the corruption the public has long endured, comparing the number of complaints filed with the graft-busting body today and in the past.

“Anti-corruption efforts are on the right track,” the chairman said.

Since the commission’s shakeup in November, the number of complaints has increased by the month, from 353 in December to 581 in January, 593 in February and 607 in March.

The number hit 640 in April, then nearly doubled to 1,057 in May, said U San Win, the commission’s secretary.

Of the more than 3,800 complaints the commission has received, he said it has handled 3,045.

The commission is only responsible for taking action against corruption and is not responsible for other offenses.

Last week, both houses of the Union Parliament approved a bill amending the Anti-Corruption Law to grant the commission a broader mandate.

Most significantly, the changes give the commission the authority to investigate any civil servant who is seen to be unusually wealthy at its own discretion. Until now, it could only probe allegations of corruption in response to formal complaints filed with strong supporting evidence.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.