Myanmar State Pharmaceutical Factory Official Arrested on Corruption Charges

By San Yamin Aung 9 September 2019

YANGON— Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) opened a case on Friday against the general manager of Burma Pharmaceutical Industry (BPI), a state-owned pharmaceutical factory in Insein, Yangon region, charging him with bribery over alleged improper purchasing of raw materials for the factory.

According to an official from the ACC office in Yangon, the commission found that BPI General Manager Dr. Aung Zaw accepted low-quality raw materials that differed from the company’s tender agreement and thus is responsible for the loss of state funds.

The ACC released a statement on Saturday saying it investigated the factory after receiving a complaint requesting that they take action against corruption related to purchases of raw materials for BPI factories in Yangon and Mandalay regions.

The ACC stated that it found Dr. Aung Zaw caused losses to public funds and mismanaged state property by breaching rules and regulations when buying raw materials for the production of bottles used for intravenous fluids.

The commission opened the case against him at the Insein Police Station on Friday under Article 56 of the Anti-Corruption Law.

Under the new Anti-Corruption Law enacted in June last year, authorities can be prosecuted for corruption for allowing losses of public funds and state property or for breaking existing rules and regulations.

The accused general manager was arrested on Friday and made his first appearance at Yangon’s Northern District Court on Monday.

Around 100 staff from BPI (Insein) gathered at the court to show their solidarity with the accused, claiming their manager is innocent.

Following the court appearance, the ACC released another statement saying that the commission acknowledged Dr. Aung Zaw’s efforts at the factory and had taken the show of support from his staff into consideration but that the commission will proceed with the case because there is strong evidence of wrongdoing.

In July, then-Industry Minister U Khin Maung Cho was told to resign and was replaced after failing to open a tender process for the procurement of raw materials worth more than 1 billion kyats (US$650,000) for BPI.

Article 56 of the Anti-Corruption Law carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years if Dr. Aung Zaw is found guilty.