Naypyitaw Council Member Dismissed Over Corruption Scandal

By Htet Naing Zaw 19 March 2018

NAYPYITAW — The Myanmar government has removed a member of the Naypyitaw Council, an executive body under the direct control of the president that administers the Naypyitaw Union Territory, over a corruption scandal.

“He was sacked because of a scandal. He was mainly responsible for tenders and projects, as well as reporting to Parliament [about the projects],” a member of the Naypyitaw municipality told The Irrawaddy on condition of anonymity.

The President’s Office released a notice on March 15 stating that Naypyitaw Council member U Tin Htut was dismissed according to the 2008 Constitution, Union Government Law, and Naypyitaw Council Law. But the notice did not explain the reason for the dismissal.

U Tin Htut is the highest-ranking official to be dismissed in Naypyitaw under the National League for Democracy (NLD) government. In January 2018, U Myo Tint, a former military officer, also resigned from the Naypyitaw municipality.

“U Myo Tint was asked whether he wanted to resign or be dismissed. There was a lot of evidence of corruption against him. He could not deny it. U Tin Htut denied the corruption allegations. So, he was sacked,” said the municipal official who asked for anonymity.

U Tin Htut did not know of his dismissal in advance, said U Myo Thant, a personal staff officer of U Tin Htut.

U Tin Htut is not an NLD member. He resigned as an assistant secretary of the Ministry of Energy in 2015 and was assigned to the Naypyitaw Council in 2016, the staff officer said.

Some lawmakers in the Naypyitaw Council area said that U Tin Htut was too close to businessmen and that his close relationships had led to a bribery scandal.

Lower House lawmaker U Kyaw Tint from Tatkon Township in the Naypyitaw Union Territory said he had worked with U Tint Htut, who was responsible for his constituency, and witnessed both his strong and weak points.

“I checked and balanced him as his actions could have undermined the image of the government. As a colleague, I gave him brotherly advice in some cases. I would say he was sacked because of some weakness in his actions,” U Kyaw Tint told The Irrawaddy.

“He was dismissed because he could not perform his duties well,” said an Upper House lawmaker on condition of anonymity who declined to elaborate.

U Tin Htut had switched off his mobile phone at the time of reporting this story. The NLD-government also fired two municipal officers who were sued under the 2013 Anti-Corruption Law for taking bribes from butchers in October 2017. The two are still facing trial at the Mandalay Region high court.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.