Myanmar’s military regime is moving to seize the assets of the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charity founded by jailed former State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and named after her mother.
The foundation was established in 2012 to promote improvements in the health, education and living standards of the Myanmar people, especially in the country’s least-developed areas. The not-for-profit foundation provided free vocational training and carried out humanitarian work.
Following last year’s coup, the foundation announced that it was closing temporarily. The junta then launched an investigation into the finances of the foundation, as it sought excuses to imprison Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader.
The regime sealed off the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation offices and charged Suu Kyi with four counts of corruption, regarding the leasing of land in Naypyitaw and Yangon to the charity by the then ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) government. A junta court in Naypyitaw has since sentenced Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to six years in prison on those charges.
NLD-appointed former Naypyitaw Mayor Dr. Myo Aung, deputy mayor U Ye Min Oo, and member of the Naypyitaw Development Council U Min Thu were also sentenced to three years in jail each as co-defendants on the same charges.
So far, though, the junta court has targeted NLD leaders rather than the foundation itself. Now, the regime-controlled Union Attorney-General Office has recently submitted an appeal to amend the court’s rulings, a source familiar with the case told The Irrawaddy.
One striking judge who asked for anonymity said: “I assume they [the junta] submitted the appeal in order to seize the possessions such as land, buildings and cash of the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation.”
According to a regime press release issued on March 17 last year after raids on the foundation’s offices, the charity had assets of over US$1 million and more than six billion kyats.
The foundation also has more than 17.8 million kyats held in eight accounts at the state-owned Myanmar Economic Bank and four private banks.
Several buildings in Yangon’s Kawhmu and Bahan townships, as well as at the La Yaung Taw project in the capital Naypyitaw, are also owned by the charity and are worth billions of kyats. The regime alleged that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi abused her power to purchase land at lower than market value prices for the La Yaung Taw project.