Municipal Official in Myanmar Capital Cleared on Bribery Charges

By Zarni Mann 28 August 2019

MANDALAY—The Mandalay Region Supreme Court on Wednesday released a Naypyitaw municipal official being tried for accepting bribes under the Anti-Corruption Law.

U Min Lwin Soe, a deputy director general from the market department of the Naypyitaw municipal council was sued for allegedly accepting 5 million kyats in bribes from two butchers.

“We’ve found that the main evidence submitted by the butchers was fabricated, and we submitted our findings. The court accepted [the findings] and he walked out from the court as a free man,” said U Min Lwin Soe’s lawyer, U Khin Maung Than.

U Min Lwin Soe was arrested and sued in November 2017 alongside Dr. Khaing Soe Hla, a deputy director general from the veterinary and butchery department of the Naypyitaw municipal council, though the two were tried separately.

According to the lawyers, video clips presented in court showed the butchers arriving at the deputy director general’s home with a hamper and a plastic bag full of bribe money.

“Actually, my client did not accept [the hamper and the money] but gave it back, but in the video clips submitted as evidence, that is omitted. We sent the video clips to be checked by technicians and submitted their findings. The court decided the lawsuit is inappropriate,” U Khin Maung Than said.

U Min Lwin Soe was released from Oh-Bo Prison by court order on Wednesday.

U Khin Maung Than described U Min Lwin Soe as a good government staffer and said the lawsuit and the almost two years he spent in prison have affected his image and his life.

“Bringing a false lawsuit with fabricated evidence is inappropriate. The Anti-Corruption Commission needs to review the incident to prevent unnecessary impacts on the civil servant’s good image in the future,” he said.

Dr. Khaing Soe Hla was sentenced to three years in prison in February. In a separate case, he was found guilty of taking 5.5 million kyats from the same butchers as a bribe for permission to reopen their shops, which had previously been forced to close.

The butchers filed complaints with the Anti-corruption Commission in October 2017. The commission investigated case and U Aung Myint Kyaw, a member of the commission, filed their report to the police as a plaintiff.

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