By THOMAS KEAN | FRONTIER
NAY PYI TAW — A company accused by an MP of employing the wife of a former minister to win government approval for an energy project has refuted the allegations and threatened legal action.
Union Solidarity and Development Party MP U Maung Myint (Pyithu Hluttaw, Mingin) told parliament on Monday that he had heard Supreme Group employed the wife of former minister for finance and planning U Kyaw Win and also worked with United Engineering, a company owned by Minister for Electricity and Energy U Win Khaing.
In January, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy issued notices to proceed to two Supreme energy projects, including a US$2.5 billion liquefied natural gas to power development in Ayeyarwady Region that will be implemented in partnership with a Chinese company, Zhefu Holding Group.
Last night Supreme Group issued a statement saying the allegations were “totally untrue”. U Htu Htu Aung, deputy chief executive officer of Supreme Group, told Frontier this morning that the company “strongly and categorically deny both allegations”
“U Kyaw Win’s wife or immediate family or relatives has never worked in any of the Supreme’s companies in any capacity,” he said. “Supreme or its affiliates have never worked with United Engineering in the past or present.”
Maung Myint mentioned the rumours in a question to the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, asking why it had issued the notices to proceed to four projects, including the two from Supreme, without conducting a tender.
In his response to the question, Win Khaing did not address the alleged links between Supreme, Kyaw Win and his company.
Maung Myint then repeated the allegations outside parliament, but went further by suggesting that Supreme’s projects were given the green light by the government because of its links to the two ministers.
Htu Htu Aung said the suggestion that Supreme was awarded the notices to proceed on this basis was a “totally untrue and baseless accusation”.
“We reserve the right to take legal action to protect our reputation but first we would welcome the honourable member of Pyithu Hluttaw to provide evidence for his accusations.”
A Ministry of Electricity and Energy official declined to comment but said the issue may be raised at a ministry press conference in Nay Pyi Taw tomorrow.