NLD Investigates High Profile Nepotism Cases

By Htet Naing Zaw 12 December 2016

NAYPYIDAW — The National League for Democracy (NLD) has initiated an investigation in Rangoon into complaints against the Mon State chief minister, as well as the speaker and deputy speaker from Tenasserim Division.

The NLD central executive committee (CEC) formed a three-member team consisting of CEC member U Nyan Win and senior members Dr. Myo Nyunt and U Kyaw Ho on Nov. 28 to investigate complaints against the lawmakers.

U Kyay Ho told The Irrawaddy that the team read the alleged offenders the complaints against them and listened to their responses.

The speaker and deputy speaker of Tenasserim Division’s parliament awarded construction tenders to relatives and associates, claimed a divisional lawmaker, on the condition of anonymity.

Nineteen NLD lawmakers from the Upper House and Lower House, including divisional parliamentarians and ministers, filed complaints to the party’s CEC, asking it to review the actions of these two men.

“The tender case tarnishes the image of the NLD among locals. Once speculations mounted, the tender was canceled. This could damage the reputation of both the party and lawmakers,” said the same anonymous lawmaker.

Deputy Speaker of Tenasserim Division U Kyi Soe said it was difficult to explain the technicalities of the project to lawmakers.

“We explained to the CEC that we awarded the tenders based on scores given by engineers that take into account a blueprint and bill of quantities submitted by companies. It is true that the tender winners were related to us—as relatives, friends and from the NLD circle. But we did not come to this decision on our own,” he said.

“Many people thought it was suspicious when we canceled the tender. But it was due to other circumstances. The budget was huge, but there was no master plan. We canceled the project to avoid spending unnecessary money,” he added.

The anonymous divisional lawmaker said the speaker and the deputy speaker are still incapable of parliamentary functions eight months into the NLD’s administration.

“By now, they should be knowledgeable about parliament’s laws and bylaws. But they rarely study them. I’m afraid this might make it difficult to exercise checks and balances on the [divisional] government,” said the lawmaker who was also questioned during the investigation.

Meanwhile, there have been questions over the performance of Mon State chief minister U Min Min Oo, according to lawmakers in the Mon State parliament.

Mon State lawmaker Dr. Khin Naing Oo suggested that the chief minister was possibly being questioned in regards to weak cooperation with the Union government and local non-governmental organizations, or perhaps simply to discuss difficulties facing Mon State.

U Min Min Oo contested a seat in the Mon State parliament in the 2015 election was then voted to deputy speaker. He was later appointed chief minister.

Mon State lawmaker U Tin Ko Ko confirmed that there were allegations against the state chief minister but said there was no strong evidence against him in regards to the allegations.

According to NLD sources, the party’s CEC has received complaints against some 40 lawmakers to this point, but most of them have been minor and investigation teams were only formed to look into these few high-profile cases.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko