Pyin Oo Lwin Township Administrator Arrested for Abuse of Power

By D Hline Win 2 November 2016

MANDALAY — The Pyin Oo Lwin Township administrator and two of his staff were arrested on Oct. 26 and are now awaiting trial on corruption and abuse of power charges following complaints from locals, according to police.

“We have detained Pyin Oo Lwin Township administrator U Tin Naing Soe and his deputy U Kyaw Kyaw Naing and have sent them to Obo Prison,” a police officer from Mandalay Division’s No. 3 regional police station told The Irrawaddy.

“We heard that the Anti-Corruption Commission will sue them at the divisional court,” he added.

U Tin Naing Soe and his staff are accused of extorting 40 million kyats from the township’s residents to register a village after they were relocated.

Residents of Ma Gyi In village relocated after the military regime begun the Yeywa Hydropower Project in 2000 which caused flooding on the Dokhtawaddy River, also known as the Myitnge River.

“Over 1,000 people from 150 households have moved to the current location,” said U Maung Tun of Ma Gyi In Village.

Ma Gyi In locals applied to authorities to register the new village and in 2014, the township general administration department and other departmental personnel conducted a land survey and agreed to allot 170 acres of land for the village.

The department demanded 100,000 kyats for each acre of land but, following discussions, the fee was settled at 12.5 million kyats.

Township administrator U Tin Naing Soe and his colleagues, however, took 40 million kyats in payments and bribes from the villagers in the following days, according to the investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission.

In August 2015, the township administrator summoned local villagers and asked them to sign the   registration document but the designated boundaries of the village were smaller than agreed in 2014 and the villagers refused to sign.

The administrator threatened not to register the village. Locals complained to the divisional and the Union level government and to the Anti-Corruption Commission which probed the case, according to local farmer U Chit San.

“We received complaints from Ma Gyi In villagers together with strong evidence and questioned them and the township administrator,” said U Kaung Zaw Thant of the Anti-Corruption Commission. “We found that three officials including administrator U Tin Naing Soe have abused power.”

The commission is preparing to sue the three individuals at the Mandalay Division Court said U Kaung Zaw.