Magway judge flees after bribery allegations

By HTUN KHAING & SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

YANGON — The Anti-Corruption Commission is preparing to open legal action after confirming allegations a Magway Region judge took bribes to determine a number of cases — a rare step in a judicial system plagued by graft.

The government published a statement on Wednesday announcing the impending prosecution of Daw Inzali Mya Shein, a judge in the Pwintbyu Township court, following a complaint submitted by the Magway Region government.

According to the release, numerous other parties to court proceedings stepped forward to allege they had been jailed after refusing to pay bribes, while defendants who paid bribes had avoided jail time.

The Anti-Corruption Commission said it had established that Inzali Mya Shein had taken at least 1 million kyats from the families of plaintiffs in two separate cases last year.

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A news story in the Global New Light of Myanmar said Inzali Mya Shein had left Pwintbyu to avoid the looming charges. U Tun Tun, the National League for Democracy lawmaker representing the township in the Pyithu Hluttaw, told Frontier that he heard Inzali Mya Shein had fled the country.

Police officers in Pwintbyu would not confirm whether the judge had left Myanmar.

Bribery and corruption have for decades been an everyday feature of Myanmar’s court system, though little action has been taken against offending judges.

Since the formation of the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2014, citizens from across the country have lodged thousands of complaints alleging judicial misconduct.

In one highly-publicised case, a judge from Homalin Township in Sagaing Region was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for soliciting bribes. A further 38 judges have been disciplined for misconduct, according to the Pyithu Hluttaw.

Tun Tun said the decision to press charges against Inzali Mya Shein showed the government was committed to take action against corrupt officials even in remote areas such as Pwintbyu.

“Needless to say there is corruption in the lower sector,” he said. “That is why these problems are happening.”

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