Court Rejects Appeal to Seize Land From Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Charity

By The Irrawaddy 13 March 2023

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal to seize Naypyitaw land from the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charity founded by jailed former State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and named after her mother.

In 2018, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi bought about 100 acres of land in Naypyitaw for the planned La Yaung Taw project to establish a vocational training school and forest to raise public awareness of the impacts of deforestation.

Following the 2021 coup, the junta accused Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of abusing her power to purchase land for the project at lower than market value and filed three counts of corruption against her. A junta court sentenced her to three years in jail for each charge, to be served concurrently.

In December, the junta-controlled Attorney-General’s Office appealed, seeking also to seize the land and buildings for the La Yaung Taw project.

The design of the La Yaung Taw project / Daw Khin Kyi Foundation Facebook

“The Supreme Court rejected that appeal, as well as an appeal by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” a source close to the court told The Irrawaddy.

However, the rejection of the regime’s appeal is not final, according to a legal expert. It could still submit a special appeal to confiscate Daw Khin Kyi Foundation assets.

The foundation owns 23.855 acres of land and buildings in Poppathiri Township, close to former president general Thein Sein’s private farm, known as Shwe Lel Taw.

It also owns 101.33 acres near Raja Theingaha Housing in Ottarathiri Township, the site of the La Yaung Taw project. The land was bought at five million kyats per acre, a price officially set by the Naypyitaw Development Committee, said the foundation.

Land was also sold at five million kyats per acre to 23 other organizations, including the Myanmar War Veterans Organization (MWVO), the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Organization (predecessor of the USDP), and Myat Sedana Foundation, according to the President’s Office of the National League for Democracy (NLD) government. Both the MWVO and the USDP have built their headquarters on this land.

While no action was taken against the other organizations including the MWVO and USDP, junta courts handed three-year jail sentences to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, then Naypyitaw Mayor Dr. Myo Aung, deputy mayor U Ye Min Oo, and member of the Naypyitaw Development Council U Min Thu over land permits for the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation.

The foundation was established in 2012 to improve the health, education and living standards of Myanmar’s people, especially in the country’s least-developed areas. The not-for-profit foundation provided free vocational training and carried out humanitarian work.

Following the February 2021 coup, the foundation announced it was closing temporarily. The junta then launched an investigation into its finances, seeking excuses to imprison ousted civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The regime has also sealed off the foundation’s offices.

Junta courts have sentenced Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to 33 years in prison on 19 charges including corruption. She is being held in solitary confinement in Naypyitaw and has submitted appeals to rulings against her.