Ex-Myanmar Military Officer-Turned-NLD Minister Charged With Corruption
By The Irrawaddy 27 January 2022
The Myanmar junta has filed a corruption charge against a former military colonel who served as a minister in the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
The junta alleged in an announcement on Tuesday that former Minister of the Union Government Office U Min Thu received 67.5 million kyats (about US$37,800) from a company owner to buy NLD-logo shirts and bags for use during the party’s election campaign in September 2020.
The former air force pilot is the second ex-military officer who served in the NLD government to be charged by the regime. Former Brigadier General Thura U Aung Ko, the ousted minister of religious affairs and culture, was charged under Article 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law.
Tuesday’s announcement said a case had been opened against U Min Thu, also under Article 55, which carries a potential 15-year sentence for anyone in political office involved in bribery.
He was appointed to the Naypyitaw Council after the NLD took office in early 2016 and became deputy President’s Office minister in December of that year. He was later appointed as the minister for the Union Government Office in late 2018 to supervise the General Administration Department (GAD), the backbone of the country’s public administrative mechanism.
The NLD government transferred the formerly military-controlled department to his ministry. After the coup, however, the regime returned control of the GAD to its Home Affairs Ministry.
U Min Thu was known to be close to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and sometimes drove for her in place of her regular driver. His wife Daw May Lwin Thein also has a close relationship with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
U Min Thu also faces accusations from the junta’s handpicked electoral body of committing election fraud in the 2020 general election together with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint. He has been under house arrest since Feb. 1, the day the military seized power in a coup.
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