Investigation into case against finance minister nears completion: ACC


YANGON – An investigation into allegations made against the Minister of Finance and Planning U Kyaw Win is nearing completion, the head of the Anti-Corruption Commission said in Nay Pyi Taw today.

U Aung Kyi told reporters outside parliament that a complaint had been filed against the finance minister on May 3 and that an investigation team was formed on May 7.

“This does not mean he is guilty. But a complaint must be investigated, whether it’s right or wrong. If there is guilt, we will frankly reveal it,” he said, adding that the investigation is almost complete and will be wrapped up as soon as possible.

“We had to ask for evidence, interview witnesses and examine documents. Now we have almost finished,” he said. The commission will then submit its report to the president and the speakers of both hluttaws.

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Local media reported earlier this month that commission officials had searched Kyaw Win’s residence. Spokespeople from the commission and the President’s Office had previously refused to confirm or deny the reports.

On May 13, shortly after the reports were published, the ACC posted a statement to its official Facebook page in which it said it was examining 18 cases. All were at the pre-investigation stage and would remain confidential until closed, the statement said.

The Irrawaddy reported on Monday that Kyaw Win had submitted a resignation letter to the president. Sources close to the matter have also told Frontier the minister has sought to resign.

However, U Tun Tun Naing, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Planning said by telephone this morning that Kyaw Win was still in his office. Speaking to Frontier yesterday, President’s Office spokesman U Zaw Htay said he could not confirm reports of the resignation.

Details of the ACC investigation are not yet clear. However, Kyaw Win is known to have been close to or worked with several companies before he became finance minister.

A copy of his curriculum vitae, which was circulated by the National League for Democracy in 2016 and obtained by Frontier, states that he was a business consultant from 1997 until his appointment as minister in March 2016.

His LinkedIn profile, which has not been updated since 2016, says he consulted for several years for Mottama Holdings Limited, which is owned by Myanmar-Chinese entrepreneur U Yang Ho.

A subsidiary of Mottama called Min Dhama is a member of a consortium chosen earlier this year to undertake the massive Yangon Central Railway Station redevelopment, which has an estimated US$2.5 billion price tag.

A representative for Mottama confirmed that Kyaw Win had previously worked for the company but no longer has any connection.

The minister’s integrity has previously been called into question. His claims to holding a master’s degree and PhD from a college in the United States called Brooklyn Park University were exposed as fake almost immediately after the CV was circulated in 2016.

The ACC investigation meanwhile is ongoing and is widely expected to result in a high-level reshuffle in at least three and possibly as many as five ministries.

The Anti-Corruption Commission was formed in 2014 and was at first criticised for failing to tackle the corruption endemic in government.

In November 2017, former general and ex-minister Aung Kyi was appointed to lead the commission and immediately announced a review of its activities. Since then the commission has filed cases against a number of government officials, including Food and Drug Administration director general Dr Than Htut.

In April, days after becoming president, U Win Myint met the ACC and urged them to carry out their duties “decisively and without discrimination”.

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