Mandalay Court Charges Ex-FDA Director With Graft

By De Hlaing Winn 4 March 2019

MANDALAY — A Mandalay Region court on Friday charged the former director-general of the Health and Sports Ministry’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with bribery.

The court charged U Than Htut, 60, under Section 56 of the Anti-Corruption Law after hearing from more than 30 prosecution witnesses since May. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

“The court has summoned 11 witnesses again for further testimony. There will be a court hearing for them on March 8,” said U Chit Ko Ko, the former director-general’s lawyer.

U Than Htut was accused of asking a company to build him two furnished homes and a swimming pool with a combined value of over 15 million kyats (about $10,000) in exchange for a contract to build laboratories for the FDA. The Anti-Corruption Commission sued him in April.

U Than Htut trained as a civilian physician and later served as a military doctor. He was also an assistant professor at the Yangon University of Public Health. He joined the FDA as deputy director-general in March 2015 and was later promoted to the top slot.

His prosecution was the first to be announced by the Anti-Corruption Commission following the inauguration a year ago of President U Win Myint, who has vowed to crack down on government graft.

U Than Htut has denied receiving any personal benefit from the company, which the government has not identified.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.