High Court Takes Up Corruption Case Against Yangon Attorney General, Others

By San Yamin Aung 25 September 2018

YANGON — The Yangon Region High Court on Tuesday agreed to investigate the region’s attorney general and five other officials arrested earlier this month on suspicion of taking bribes to drop a murder case against the alleged killers of Facebook comedian Aung Yell Htwe.

On Sept. 13 the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed cases under two articles of the Anti-Corruption Law against Yangon Region Attorney General U Han Htoo, Yangon Eastern District Court Judge U Aung Kyi, Yangon Region law officer U Thein Zaw, Yangon Eastern District law officer U Ko Ko Lay, Yangon Eastern District deputy law officer Daw Thit Thit Khin, and police Lieutenant Chit Ko Ko.

They were all detained the same day and sent to Insein Prison on Tuesday. U Han Htoo was expelled from his post soon after the arrests.

The commission said it had found sufficient evidence that the six were involved in accepting more than 70 million kyats (about $46,300) from the father of one of the murder suspects to drop the case.

High Court Deputy Director and spokeswoman Daw Nwe Nwe Oo said on Tuesday that the court accepted the graft case against U Han Htoo under Article 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law and against the five others under Article 56.

If found guilty, they face maximum sentences of between 10 and 15 years in prison.

The court will begin questioning the suspects on Oct. 4.

The ACC claims that the accused received a total 72 million kyats in cash and other gifts, including bottles of Blue and Gold Label Scotch Whisky, as bribes. Judge U Aung Kyi allegedly received the largest sum — 33 million kyats — while the attorney general allegedly received 15 million kyats.

On Monday, the High Court annulled a lower court’s decision to drop the case into Aung Yell Htwe’s fatal beating and release the three suspects. The High Court also ruled that the murder case proceed to trial.

U Kyee Myint, a veteran lawyer and co-founder of the Myanmar Lawyers Network, told The Irrawaddy last month that it would be difficult to uncover the truth about the murder if the case resumed from where it left off.

He suggested the case be re-investigated and said it would also be necessary to call additional eyewitnesses who were with Aung Yell Htwe when he was attacked.