Findings in Regional Embezzlement Investigation Submitted to President’s Office

By Htet Naing Zaw 11 April 2017

NAYPYIDAW — Findings have been submitted to the President’s Office after an investigation into a missing 7.459 billion kyats in regional development funds collected from small-scale crude oil producers under the previous government.

Under the instruction of the President’s Office, the Bureau of Special Investigations under the home affairs ministry—in collaboration with officers of the divisional auditor-general’s office—probed the alleged embezzlement of 2.8 billion kyats (US$2.1 million) by former Magwe Division chief minister U Phone Maw Shwe and others from funds allocated for regional development.

They submitted the findings to President U Htin Kyaw, along with a remark from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Union, the home affairs ministry’s permanent secretary told reporters on Monday in Naypyidaw at a press conference on its work over the past year.

“Regarding the findings, we asked for comments from the Attorney-General’s Office from a legal point of view. Then we submitted the findings along with the remarks to the President’s Office, which, however, has not yet given any instructions in response,” U Tin Myint, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

“I do not have any comment [on the matter]. It is up to the decision of senior leaders,” said U Zaw Htay, spokesperson of the President’s Office, referring to President U Htin Kyaw and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The investigation was launched after Lower House lawmaker U Tun Tun of Magwe’s Pwintbyu Township asked the Parliament in May 2016 about the alleged embezzlement of regional development funds by the previous Sagaing Division government. The investigation then found that missing funds amounted to 7.459 billion kyats.

U Nay Myo Kyaw, the Magwe Division immigration and population minister as well as a spokesperson for the divisional government, told The Irrawaddy: “What I can say is that money was not the money of the previous chief minister and [other] ministers, but the tax dutifully paid by citizens. We will find out in collaboration with the Union government where the money has gone.”

The previous Sagaing Division government levied 5,000 kyats per barrel of crude oil from small-scale crude oil producers in the division to raise regional development funds.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko