Commerce Ministry Director General Dismissal Not Over Corruption

By Htet Naing Zaw 17 January 2019

NAYPYITAW—Deputy Commerce Minister U Aung Htoo said the dismissal of a director-general from his ministry on the orders of President U Win Myint earlier this week was not connected with corruption.

U Yan Naing Tun, the director-general of the Trade Department overseen by the Commerce Ministry, was sacked on Monday and rumors have since been spreading that he was dismissed for corruption.

He was transferred from the military—where he served as a lieutenant-colonel—to the government, spending a number of years in charge of the border trade department in Muse, a key border trade zone on the Myanmar-China border. He later became director-general of the Trade Department under the government of the National League for Democracy (NLD).

“Somebody made a complaint against him over the lack of transparency in his supplying of sugar [to private companies] for industrial purposes. An internal investigation was launched in response. When we submitted our findings to the President’s Office, it dismissed him according to the law,” U Aung Htoo told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

“But it was nothing to do with corruption. He violated the code of conduct for civil servants. We presented our findings to the President’s Office and it took action,” he added.

The Ministry of Commerce, the Internal Revenues Department under the Ministry of Planning and Finance, and the Directorate of Industrial Supervision and Inspection under the Ministry of Industry are responsible for carrying out field inspections in order to supply sugar for local factories.

Based on the report of the combined inspection team, the Ministry of Commerce decides the amount of sugar to supply to each factory.

“There was a complaint in November about that process, so we launched an internal investigation and reported to the President’s Office,” said U Aung Htoo.

The Irrawaddy was not able to contact U Yan Naing Tun for his comments on the issue.

According to a member of the national anti-graft body, U Han Nyunt, they have not received any complaint against U Yan Naing Tun.

The NLD last week expelled from its party the deputy speaker of the Irrawaddy regional parliament for alleged misappropriation of funds.

The NLD government has sacked a number of deputy ministers and chief ministers, but none of them were charged with corruption. However, the government has been known to take action against director-generals under corruption charges.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.