Yangon losing money from USDP-connected property firm

The Yangon Regional Government has lost money by charging below-market rental on 10 hectares of state-owned park land to a company owned by a member of the ruling party, said a report presented on Tuesday to the regional parliament by the Auditor General’s Office.

The regional government rented 25 acres (10 hectares) of public space in Kandawgyi Park, in central Yangon, to the Zaykabar Company for K300 million (US$232,558) a year under a 30-year concession that was signed in 2010, said the Auditor General in their report to Yangon Parliament.

Land prices have soared over the past five years in Yangon, the country’s commercial capital, resulting in a loss for the city government, the report said.

The Auditor General suggested that the Yangon Government should increase the rental price to get more benefit from the concession over the next 25 years.

The Zaykabar Company is owned by U Khin Shwe, a member of Parliament for the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party that has led the national government since winning the November 2010 general election. U Khin Shwe’s daughter is married to the son of House Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann.

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The Auditor General’s report was presented to Yangon Parliament weeks after the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) Party won the November 8 general elections, defeating the USDP by a landslide. The NLD is scheduled to form a new government after March 31.

The Chief Minister of the current Yangon Region government is also a member of the USDP.  

According to the auditor report, the Zaykabar Company took “money from people as they wished,” by renting out the Kandawgyi Park space to stalls selling alcohol and food at high prices.


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