Burma

Key Myanmar Junta Witness Denies Paying Suu Kyi Bribe: Court Source

By The Irrawaddy 1 June 2022

Maung Weik, a leading businessman and the key witness in a corruption case against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, on Tuesday testified that an alleged bribe paid to her was really a donation to her charity, a court source told The Irrawaddy.

“Maung Weik said he donated cash to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation. He said he made a donation, not a bribe,” the source said.

An officer from the junta’s Anti-Corruption Commission filed a complaint against the detained state counselor in early May, alleging that the property developer had given her about US$550,000 in illegal payments between 2018 and 2020 to protect his businesses.

The charge is based on Maung Weik’s comments, made during a regime press conference in March last year.

The owner of Sae Paing Construction Co. said he had given four payments, $100,00 in 2018, $150,000 in 2019 and $50,000 in February 2020 and $250,000 in April 2020.

The regime opened a case under Article 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law, alleging that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi accepted the bribe from Maung Weik on the pretext that the money was intended for her charity.

In the aftermath of the coup, the regime raided the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation offices and seized cash and equipment.

Founded in 2012, the not-for-profit foundation provided free vocational training and carried out humanitarian work. It was financed by donors from around the world.

The regime has also opened a corruption case against ousted Mandalay Region chief minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, who is being held in a Mandalay prison in connection with payments from Maung Weik.

Maung Weik testified that he only contributed cash for Dr. Zaw Myint Maung’s medical treatment. He is suffering from leukemia and was then receiving treatment in Bangkok. After the court hearing, Maung Weik bowed before Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, which was seen as evidence of his guilty conscience.

Maung Weik was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2008 under the previous military regime for drug trafficking. He was released in 2014 under U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government.

In late April, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was given five years in prison for accepting bribes from her Yangon Region chief minister U Phyo Min Thein, who testified in October last year that he gave her seven viss (around 11.4kg) of gold and $600,000 in 2017 and 2018.

U Phyo Min Thein is the only senior National League for Democracy figure spared from prosecution and there is no evidence of gold or dollars.

At the court hearing on Tuesday, the court also heard U Ye Htet from the Anti-Corruption Commission, who is the complainant in another corruption case against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, over the acquisition of land for her foundation in Naypyitaw.

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