Burma

Myanmar Military Regime Probes Finances of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Charity

By The Irrawaddy 11 February 2021

YANGON—The military regime has launched an investigation into the finances of the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charity founded by Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained by the military since it seized power from her government. The move has raised fears that it could be a pretext to file more charges against the country’s de facto leader.

Two executives of the foundation were summoned by officials at the military’s investigation bureau in Yangon a week ago, family members said.

A relative of Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung told The Irrawaddy on Friday that the executive had not been arrested but was required to go to the bureau everyday to be questioned about the foundation’s finances.

“He has to go there in the morning but returns home at night; he is asked about [the foundation’s] accounts all day long,” the family member said.

Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung is a publisher and founder of the Myanmar Book Center in Yangon.

Named after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s late mother, Daw Khin Kyi, the foundation was established in 2012 to promote improvement in the health, education and living standards of the Myanmar people, especially in the country’s least developed areas.

Until the coup, the foundation also accepted public donations for COVID-19 vaccinations. As of Jan. 29, two days before the takeover, it had transferred a total of 2.5 billion kyats (US$1.77 million) to the government. Following the coup, the foundation announced it was closing temporarily.

Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung’s wife said in a recent Facebook post that her husband had proved there were no irregularities in the foundation’s finances, adding that none of the organization’s property had been confiscated so far.

“As the investigations are likely to end in one or two days, I believe the truth will prevail and his involvement [in the investigation] will end completely,” she said.

The military regime has detained Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and charged her with violating the Export and Import Law, claiming it found nine illegally imported walkie-talkies at her residence in Naypyitaw.

The reason for the military’s investigation of the foundation is not yet clear, but it has prompted speculation that regime officials are combing her affairs for any possible reasons to pursue more charges against her—such as, for example, accepting money from foreign countries.

In a statement on its website, the foundation says it is politically neutral and works with government agencies, international NGOs and other partners.

“Receiving funds from within the country as well as from friends of Burma abroad, we are able to accept charitable donations, public and private subsidies and legacies according to the law,” it says.

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