Myanmar’s Suu Kyi Denies Taking Bribes from Yangon Chief Minister

By The Irrawaddy 15 March 2022

Myanmar’s detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi denied accepting bribes from U Phyo Min Thein, the Yangon Region chief minister, at a court hearing on Monday in Naypyitaw, a court source told The Irrawaddy.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was quoted as saying: “The allegations are completely false. I had no reason to take it, no reason to accept it.”

The prosecution and defense lawyers are set to present their closing arguments at the next hearing on March 28 as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said she would not call any witnesses. The verdict is expected soon.

U Phyo Min Thein testified in October last year that in his role as Yangon chief minister he gave seven viss (around 11.4kg) of gold and US$600,000 to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in 2017 and 2018. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has dismissed his claims as “all absurd”.

U Phyo Min Thein is the only chief minister not to be jailed by the regime, apart from the Chin State chief, who reportedly escaped across the Indian border.

U Phyo Min Thein’s wife Daw Khin Mi Mi Kywe told the court in November that she took gold from her gold shop and bought US dollars from money changers and prepared them for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, after her husband said they were in exchange for her protection and support.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said she was working for the whole country and not for U Phyo Min Thein alone, according to a source. She said she only knew about the corruption charge when the junta-controlled anti-graft commission sent her a letter of investigation.

The director of the anti-graft commission, U Aung Khant, who is the plaintiff in another corruption case against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and former social welfare, relief and resettlement minister U Win Myint Aye, also testified on Monday.

The charge relates to the rent and purchase of a helicopter for natural disasters and state affairs, including rescues and emergencies.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is on trial on 11 charges and faces sentences of more than 100 years. She was handed jail sentences in December and January.

Lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court in late February to withdraw five corruption charges each against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Naypyitaw mayor Dr. Myo Aung and Yangon ministers U Ye Min Oo and U Naing Ngan Linn.

The Supreme Court is set to decide on Tuesday whether to allow the appeal.

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