MANDALAY – Mandalay Divisional Court on Thursday jailed two Pyin Oo Lwin Township officials for 10 years for corruption.
The sentences, the harshest ever handed down by the Mandalay court for corruption, come on the heels of a promise by President U Win Myint to take strong action against corrupt officials.
Pyin Oo Lwin Township general administration officer U Tin Naing Soe and deputy administration officer U Kyaw Kyaw Naing were charged in October 2016 with two corruption counts each under Article 56 of the Anti-corruption Law for taking bribes from residents of Mageeinn village in return for registering their land.
The court found the two officials guilty of taking a total of more than 39 million kyats in two separate cases. They were each sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment in each case.
Article 56 states: “Other than the Political Post Holder, if any other Authorized Person is convicted for committing bribery; he/she shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years and with a fine.”
In 2014, the two officials promised residents of Mageeinn that they would grant their registration requests, on the authority of the Home Affairs Ministry, in exchange for money.
The residents paid them more than 39 million kyats, but saw no action on their applications. After waiting for about two years, they reported the incident to Pyin Oo Lwin police and filed a lawsuit against the officials under the Anti-corruption Law.
President U Win Myint has vowed to crack down on bribery and corruption. He reportedly instructed members of the Anti-Corruption Commission not to be influenced by powerful figures in undertaking their duties, and to report to him if they encounter cases of powerful people protecting those accused of corruption. (https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/president-orders-anti-corruption-panel-not-influenced-powerful-figures.html)
Mandalay Divisional Court is currently preparing to hand down sentences in a separate case in which Naypyitaw municipal council members were convicted of taking bribes from vendors. (https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/court-case-begins-naypyitaw-municipal-officials.html)
In another case, the director-general of the Food and Drug Administration was recently charged under the Anti-corruption Law for allegedly demanding personal favors from a company that won a tender to build laboratories. (https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/anti-corruption-commission-files-case-fda-chief.html)