Irrawaddy Police Investigating Lawmaker for Embezzlement

By Salai Thant Zin 5 April 2019

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Region — Police in Irrawaddy Region are investigating the former deputy speaker of the regional Parliament for alleged misappropriation of funds.

“We have opened a case against U San Min Aung under Section 409 of the Penal Code. We opened the case around the end of March, and the Pathein Township Police Station is investigating,” a spokesman for the Irrawaddy Region Police Force told The Irrawaddy.

Section 409 addresses a criminal breach of trust and carries a penalty of 10 years to life in prison.

The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) launched an internal investigation into U San Min Aung in December, following a complaint from a Pathein resident accusing him of embezzling government funds in the purchase of five vehicles.

The NLD expelled U San Min Aung on Jan. 15, and the party’s central executive committee reported the case to the Myanmar Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), asking it to take appropriate legal action.

U San Min Aung resigned as deputy speaker of the Irrawaddy Region Parliament, but he remains a lawmaker representing Bogale Township.

The ACC investigated him in February.

“The commission said that his actions did not amount to corruption, but suggested that action can be taken against him if he violated departmental regulations and other existing laws,” said Irrawaddy Region Parliament Speaker U Aung Kyaw Khine.

“So we sought legal advice from the regional attorney-general, and he suggested opening a case. So the deputy director of the regional parliament office filed a case against him,” he said.

U San Min Aung led an eight-member team to arrange the purchase of the vehicles. The team bought one new vehicle and four used ones. He had the used cars repaired and overstated the repair cost, then added those repair costs to the original price of the cars, according to police records.

The eight-member team was comprised of officials from the Road Transport Administration Department and lawmakers.

“I didn’t do it single-handedly. I have explained repeatedly that we did it with the consent of all the team members. What I can assure is we didn’t embezzle funds,” U San Min Aung told The Irrawaddy.

U San Min Aung worked as a lawyer before his successful run in the 2015 election in Bogale, after which he was appointed deputy speaker.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.