Development Foundation Returns 3.3B Kyats to Irrawaddy Govt

By Salai Thant Zin 15 November 2018

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Region — A development foundation led by ministers of the previous Irrawaddy Region government has returned 3.3 billion kyats, which it had held in banks, to the current regional government.

The Ayeyarwady Health and Education Multi-Developments Foundation has to give back a total of 5.2 billion kyats, which former Irrawaddy Region Chief Minister U Thein Aung allegedly transferred to the foundation before handing power to the new government in early 2016.

The previous regional administration had raised funds for regional development by organizing concerts and soliciting contributions from local businesses.

The foundation on Nov. 1 returned some 3.3 billion kyats to the current government, the regional parliamentary speaker U Aung Kyaw Khaing informed lawmakers on Wednesday.

The government has also instructed that 400 million kyats invested in joint ventures with three private companies be returned within 30 days and more than 860 million kyats lent for 28 regional development projects be returned within 60 days.

“Those funds will be used in line with financial regulations for the development of the region,” said regional parliamentary speaker U Aung Kyaw Khaing.

Secretary of the foundation U Kyi Aung said the remaining money would be returned in the set timeframe as instructed.

The investigation into missing funds started after U Zayar Min Thein, a lawmaker representing Pyapon (1) in the local legislature, asked the Irrawaddy Parliament in 2016 if the previous administration had handed over the regional development funds to the new government.

On instructions from the President’s Office, the Auditor General’s Office carried out an investigation and reported back that the funds should be reclaimed from the foundation.

The President’s Office then instructed the current regional government to reclaim the funds.

The foundation offered to provide records of the savings accounts, accounts receivables and loan contracts, but the administration insisted that the funds be returned in cash. So, there have been delays in the return of the funds.

The foundation, despite having to give back billions of kyats, will continue to engage in promoting the health and education sectors of the region, which is its primary objective, said U Kyi Aung

“Members of our foundation will work to get financing to continue our operations,” said U Kyi Aung.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.