Previous Administration In Mandalay Starts Returning Disputed Funds

By Zarni Mann 27 September 2018

MANDALAY — The Mandalay Region government says the previous administration has returned 500 million kyats ($314,000) in funds it had failed to properly account for while in power.

Mandalay Chief Minister U Zaw Myint Maung told reporters after a session of the regional Parliament on Wednesday that the payment was the first of four installments the previous administration has agreed to make.

“We’ve received 500 million kyats as the first payment on Sept. 5. They said they will return the money in four parts and that the last payment will be in March 2019,” he said.

The chief minister said his administration has asked the central government to allow the returned funds to be used to develop Mandalay Region.

U Zaw Myint Maung revealed in June that a 2017 audit found that discrepancies and incomplete reports related to the use of the regional development fund amounted to 3.75 billion kyats ($2.35 million) between 2012 and 2016, before the current administration took office.

The following month the former chief minister, U Ye Myint, said there were no incomplete reports and that there were no missing funds to return.

On Wednesday, however, U Zaw Myint Maung said that current and former regional government officials had met several times over the past few months to discuss the disputed funds and that the previous administration had agreed to return the money by March.

Recent audits have found similar discrepancies and incomplete reports in Sagaing and Irrawaddy regions as well. The disputed funds there were returned in full in July.