Burma

Officer in Mon State Parliament Investigated for Allegedly Soliciting Bribes

By Hintharnee 5 July 2017

MOULMEIN, Mon State — An investigation is being carried out in response to allegations that a staff officer of the Mon State Parliament has collected 300,000 kyats (US$220) from each new recruit, the speaker and deputy speaker of the parliament have confirmed.

The new recruits did not bribe the officer for their appointments. We had already appointed them but the officer asked them for money after the fact, said the speaker.

“I heard the allegations on Saturday. I’ll investigate to find the truth,” Mon State Parliament Speaker Daw Tin Ei told The Irrawaddy.

The staff officer who allegedly received money from the new recruits was originally from Mon State’s General Administration Department and was to return to his original position this month. The move will be suspended while the investigation is ongoing, said the speaker.

“We appointed them on Friday and heard that a staff officer then asked for 300,000 kyats each on the pretext of paying respects [with gifts] to the [parliamentary] speaker, deputy speaker, and directors,” said Mon State Parliament Deputy Speaker Dr. Aung Naing Oo.

“I met the new recruits on Sunday. Five of them said the officer told them that they had become permanent staff and would now be paid until they were 60 so should give two months’ salary to show gratitude,” Dr. Aung Naing Oo told The Irrawaddy.

The Mon State Parliament posted job openings in early June for staff positions. A total of 160 individuals submitted applications. A written test was held on June 16, which 130 applicants sat for, and 32 passed.

Then, an oral assessment was held on June 26, and nine applicants were selected and appointed.

“The written test is all the same, asking about Mon State and Parliament. The oral test varies according to our university degrees. No one asked for money at the time of the test; I heard about it afterward,” said one applicant.

According to its standard organizational chart, Mon State Parliament should have 62 staff members. When the parliaments were first established at the national and state levels in 2011, there was a shortage of staff, and therefore, staff members from other ministries were assigned to the national legislature as a short-term solution.

Likewise, the parliamentary positions in divisions and states were filled with staff from concerned general administration departments. They retained their official positions in the general administration departments in the interim.

The Union Parliament months ago instructed the state and divisional parliaments to appoint staff by the end of the year.

The Mon State Parliament allowed the general administration department staff to choose whether to transfer.

More than 30 staff members transferred to the parliament, and nine people were appointed to fill the remaining positions.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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