Myanmar Junta Jails Rakhine State Ministers on Corruption Charges

By The Irrawaddy 19 January 2022

Ousted Rakhine State chief minister U Nyi Pu was sentenced to nine years in prison for corruption on Wednesday along with other National League for Democracy (NLD) ministers, according to lawyers.

The detained finance minister U Kyaw Aye Thein, transport minister U Aung Kyaw Zan, agriculture minister U Kyaw Lwin and municipal minister U Min Aung were also given jail terms.

The chief minister, U Kyaw Aye Thein and U Aung Kyaw Zan faced three corruption charges for violation of financial regulations on land use in Gwa Township and for using 86.5 million kyats of Rakhine State funds.

The regime also accused the three of handing three state-owned buildings in Sittwe to a company they had links with to open a clothing factory and for giving the company 5.5 million kyats for maintenance of the building although the factory was not operational.

The junta court in Sittwe Prison handed the three ministers a three-year sentence for each charge, according to U Aung Naing Win, U Aung Kyaw Zan’s lawyer. U Kyaw Lwin was given three years for the charge over land use in Gwa.

U Nyi Pu’s daughter said: “I have no comment. People know if the lawsuits and verdicts are fair.”

U Nyi Pu and U Min Aung were detained in February soon after the coup. U Kyaw Aye Thein and U Aung Kyaw Zan were detained in Yangon at the end of July. U Kyaw Lwin was detained on Ramree Island in Rakhine State in August.

In August, the military regime said it had opened corruption cases against the ministers under Article 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law, which carries a potential 15-year sentence for anyone in political office involved in bribery.

U Min Aung was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday. He was also accused of accepting bribes to grant approval for markets to be built. In September, he was sentenced to two years and two months under the Natural Disaster Management Law and Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law for organizing anti-regime protests.

U Nyi Pu, an NLD member, was sentenced to two years in prison with labor for sedition in October last year.

The junta-appointed Rakhine State election body has also opened cases against U Nyi Pu and U Min Aung for alleged violation of electoral laws in the 2020 general election.

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