Judge Accused of Corruption Goes on the Run

By Tin Htet Paing 3 February 2017

RANGOON — A judge from Upper Burma’s Magwe Division has gone on the run from authorities after she was accused of taking bribes, the Anti-Corruption Commission told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

Judge Daw Inzali Mya Shein of Pwintbyu Township was charged with accepting bribes last year in exchange for favorable rulings on two criminal cases. According to the commission, she accepted payments of 500,000 kyats (US$368) in each of the cases—one for an unlicensed liquor shop and another for illegal gambling.

The Anti-Corruption Commission will declare the judge a fugitive and will turn the case over to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which can issue an arrest warrant, commission member U Thin Maung told The Irrawaddy.

Daw Inzali Mya Shein has been charged under Article 56 of the 2013 anti-corruption law, which could lead to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The commission said this was the fifth case brought against a high-level public servant in the judiciary sector since the anti-graft law was enacted.

In all five cases, the perpetrators have yet to be arrested.

Commission member Dr. Ny Nyi Tun told The Irrawaddy that an investigation of the judge began in early November.

He stressed the need to give the anti-corruption commission more authority and to cut bureaucratic procedures in order to speed up investigations.

The commission received 2,661 complaints from its formation in March 2014 to the end of 2016, U Thin Maung said. According to the commission’s statistics, Rangoon Division ranked at the top for most complaints generated, followed by Mandalay and Bago.

Observers have cited several drivers of corruption and bribery in Burma, including low pay for government employees and a complex bureaucracy. This creates an abundance of opportunities for bribery and other forms of corruption.

Judicial grievances were ranked as the top problem for the Upper House of Parliament’s Public Complaints Committee. The committee received 4,071 letters in 2016, and more than 2,000 of them expressed grievances with court decisions, corruption by judicial workers, and the slow judicial process.

According to a recent report by Berlin-based graft watchdog Transparency International, Burma ranked 136th out of 176 nations for its level of corruption in 2016.