Finance Ministry to Investigate Customs Director Over Bribery Allegations

By Htet Naing Zaw 18 May 2018

NAYPYITAW — The Ministry of Finance and Planning says it will launch an internal investigation into a department director who allegedly encouraged his staff to take bribes.

On Sunday, an audio file was posted on the “Golden Gatekeeper” Facebook page purportedly of U Yin Min Aung, director of the Finance Ministry’s Customs Department. In the recording, the man stresses the importance of maintaining cohesion when taking bribes. The director is alleged to have made the remarks on May 26, 2016, during a meeting with taxation officers about to take up assignments across the country.

The recording has gone viral since being posted online and sparked a public outcry.

On Thursday, Deputy Finance Minister U Maung Maung Win said an internal investigation body had been formed to look into the allegations.

“But we have not yet started the investigation. We’ll gather evidence first,” he told reporters in Naypyitaw, where the ministry’s work over the past year was being reviewed.

U Thein Swe, the Customs Department’s deputy director-general, said the investigation was ordered by the President’s Office.

“The investigation body consists of a deputy director-general and a director. I don’t know who they will investigate,” he said.

“An internal investigation is not enough. The maximum punishment will be a transfer or a warning. In fact, that case should be handled by the Anti-Corruption Commission. Only then will the public get a satisfactory answer,” lawyer U Kyi Myint told The Irrawaddy.

In the recording, the man tells his audience to beware of attracting legal action when taking bribes.

“Everyone should unite and be satisfied. Everyone should be in agreement. But don’t be too greedy beyond your position. The elephant has his own share, the horse has his own share, the goat has his own share, and the ant has his own share,” the man says.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.