Ex-Tanintharyi Region Chief Minister to Face Corruption Charges

By Zue Zue 21 January 2020

The Tanintharyi Region Court accepted bribery and corruption charges against the former regional chief minister, Daw Lei Lei Maw, who was sacked in March 2019, and three directors of the Global Grand Services (GGS) company on Tuesday.

In March last year, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed four cases against Daw Lei Lei Maw under Article 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law, which carries up to 15 years in prison.

In two of these cases, the GGS company directors U Thein Htwe, U Aung Myat and U Thura Ohn were charged for allegedly conspiring and abetting corruption under Article 55 and 63 of the Anti-Corruption Law.

“The court accepted all charges. We will appear before the court as [the clients] have done nothing wrong,” said U Naing Lin Htun, a lawyer for Daw Lei Lei Maw.

The ACC announced in March that it found Daw Lei Lei Maw abused her position on several occasions since April 2016 — weeks after she was appointed chief minister.

It conducted a monthlong investigation in February last year in Naypyitaw, Yangon and Dawei in response to complaints filed by regional lawmakers and residents with both the commission and the President’s Office.

Those findings included details of the chief minister’s alleged corruption in awarding contracts for the construction of a pavilion for Myanmar New Year in 2016 and for the removal of unwanted bushes from Dawei University and outside Dawei Airport in November 2016.

It said Daw Lei Lei Maw approved a budget of 400 million kyats (US$263,000) for the removal of the bushes outside the airport.

She allegedly asked a director with the regional Road Management Department in October 2018 to build a wall around two plots in Dawei owned by her husband but did not pay until the ACC started its investigation.

The commission said she sold her house, which was valued at 32 million kyats ($21,000), for 200 million kyats ($131,000) to GGS. The company was awarded contracts for electricity distribution in Dawei and the construction of a fish market, city hall and low-cost housing.

The commission said it also found that GGS broke a contract with the regional government and owed 8 billion kyats ($5.2 million) to the Ministry of Electricity and Energy for natural gas.

More than 40 hearings were conducted before the court decided to accept the charge against her on Tuesday. She will have to appear at the court on Feb. 3.

Her lawyer said she would abide by the court’s decision.

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