Myanmar Junta Charges Detained Leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi With Corruption

By The Irrawaddy 10 June 2021

Myanmar’s detained leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged under the anti-corruption law by the country’s military regime, bringing to seven the number of legal cases brought against her by the junta since her arrest on Feb. 1 in the wake of the coup.

If found guilty of all charges, the 75-year-old would face at least 25 years’ imprisonment—meaning she would have to spend the rest of her life behind bars.

Following the takeover, the junta launched corruption probes against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi after accusing her of accepting cash and gold, as well as abusing her authority and funds donated to a charity foundation she leads.

The regime has also filed cases against her accusing her of possessing walkie-talkies illegally, breaching COVID-19 restrictions and incitement, among other things.

At a press conference in March, regime spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun repeated allegations that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi accepted US$600,000 and 7 viss (11.4 kg or about 25 pounds) of gold from detained Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein during the period between December 2017 and March 2018. He said the government’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was probing the allegation.

In February, the military regime launched an investigation into the finances and landholdings of, and the use of buildings by, the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charity founded by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

On Thursday, state-run newspapers said the ACC had found that the detained State Counselor illegally accepted the cash and gold.

Furthermore, it said she misused her authority in renting 1.86 acres of land and buildings in Yangon to open the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation’s headquarters.

“According to data from the Yangon Region Auditor-General’s Office, the country lost more than 5.2 billion kyats [$3.15 million] due to her wrongdoing,” it said.

It also said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi didn’t act in line with procedures but used “her power and authority” to obtain a cheap land lease for the foundation’s La Yaung Taw Horticulture Vocational School in Naypyitaw.

The paper claimed that she paid a less than reasonable price to lease the land, costing the government “more than 19 billion kyats for 125.185 acres of land [in Naypyitaw].”

The ACC also said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is accused of using over 1.6 billion kyats in cash contributions from the public to build a house for herself, “contrasting with the main goals of the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation to promote the health, education and living standard of the people.”

“Therefore, she was found to have committed corruption using her rank. So she was charged under Anti-Corruption Law Section 55,” it said.

If found guilty, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would face a maximum jail term of 15 years in prison.

In a related development, Dr. Myo Aung, ex-mayor of Naypyitaw and ex-chairman of the Naypyitaw Development Committee; U Ye Min Oo, the city’s ex-deputy mayor; and ex-committee member U Min Thu were also charged under the Anti-Corruption Law for granting land use permits and land grants in violation of official procedures.

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