The Irrawaddy

No Grounds to Act Against Ex-Planning and Finance Minister, Anti-Corruption Commission Says

Then Minister for Planning and Finance U Kyaw Win addresses the Myanmar Investment Forum in Naypyitaw on June 6, 2017.

NAYPYITAW – No legal action will be taken against former Union Minister for Planning and Finance U Kyaw Win under the Anti-Corruption Law as the complaints against him could not be substantiated, U Aung Kyi, the chairman of Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), said at a press conference on Saturday.

U Soe Tint, an ACC member who led the investigation against U Kyaw Win, said the commission had investigated all eight allegations made against the ex-minister, but did not have grounds to bring charges relating to any of them under the Anti-Corruption Law.

The agency has submitted its findings to President U Win Myint, he said.

Despite the commission’s finding that there is no solid evidence of corruption against U Kyaw Win, public interest in the reason for his resignation remains high.  When The Irrawaddy pointed this out to U Aung Kyi, he said it was the responsibility of the government to provide information on this to the public.

“We are not asserting that he is innocent [or guilty]. We are saying that the complaints are not substantive enough to allow us to conclude that he has violated the law. Therefore, we have not taken any action,” U Aung Kyi said.

The decision applies only to the complaints received by the ACC, and the commission has not investigated whether other instances of corruption may have occurred beyond the original complaints, he said.

U Soe Tint said three of the eight points raised in the complaints were related to personal affairs and fell beyond the scope of the investigation. Others related to allegations of money laundering via a private bank, and the moving of oversight of the Farmers Development Bank to a department under the Ministry of Planning and Finance, both of which occurred under the previous administration. Two of the allegations were found to be false or made without evidence.

The commission did not find evidence to support an allegation of bribery in which a businessman supposedly arranged a golf competition involving all ministries in the name of the minister of planning and finance, U Soe Tint added. “It did not appear that [he] accepted any favors from the businessman or that the businessman bribed him. This allegation did not meet the definition of corruption under the Anti-Corruption Law, and we decided there was insufficient evidence.”

Regarding allegations that U Kyaw Win’s son possesses luxury vehicles, a search of the former minister’s home in Yangon revealed that the vehicles there were ordinary vehicles with multiple owners, according to the commission.

“These are not luxury vehicles. The vehicles are related to [U Kyaw Win’s son’s] businesses and thus he could have had such vehicles to conduct his work,” U Aung Kyi said.

The commission received complaints against U Kyaw Win on May 3. It interviewed 22 people including senior officials, staff, businessmen, complainants, the accused and witnesses between May 7 and 22.

“We have no authority to decide whether the retired minister violated the law or not. We can only investigate in accordance with the Anti-Corruption Law,” U Aung Kyi said.