Detained Mandalay ministers charged with corruption 

The junta filed additional corruption charges against two imprisoned Mandalay government ministers on Wednesday, according to an announcement in state-run media.

Chief minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung and minister for electricity, energy and construction Zarni Aung have been detained in Mandalay’s Ohbo Prison since the February 1 military coup. 

The military’s Global New Light of Myanmar reported that they were being charged with violating Section 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law, alleging that the chief minister had accepted multiple bribes totalling nearly US$150,000 and that the electricity minister had bought land below market rate for offices for the now ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) party. 

The charges, which carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years if convicted, were reportedly filed at the police station in Aungmyay Thazan Township on Tuesday. 

A lawyer representing the detained ministers—who requested not to be named out of fear of reprisal by the junta—said she had heard about the charges but had not been provided with further information. 

“Dr. Zaw Myint Maung and Zarni Aung are the only ones facing lawsuits for corruption but I can’t confirm it yet. I still don’t know how many charges or which criminal laws they’re being sued under, since the case hasn’t been submitted to the court,” the lawyer told Myanmar Now. 

Lawsuits were already filed against Dr. Zaw Myint Maung—a vice president of the NLD party—under Section 505b of the penal code for incitement on February 18 and under Section 25 of the Disaster Management Law on March 5. 

Lawyers representing the ministers were told that it would be decided on Friday whether they would be formally charged with violating the Disaster Management Law, but at the time of reporting it was now known if the lawyers would be permitted to attend their clients’ closed court hearing inside Ohbo Prison. 

Other members of Mandalay Region’s NLD government in detention include forestry minister Myo Thit, city development committee chair Dr. Ye Lwin, and city development committee member Kyaw Zaya. They were arrested on the day of the coup  and are charged with incitement and with violating the Disaster Management Law.

A number of NLD leaders have been charged with violating the anti-corruption law, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. 

Along with the State Counsellor, Naypyitaw’s mayor Dr. Myo Aung, deputy mayor Ye Min Oo, and city development committee member Min Thu all were charged with corruption on June 9. 

On June 23, corruption lawsuits were also filed against Magwe Region’s chief minister Dr. Aung Moe Nyo, regional parliament speaker U Tar, and ministers Myint Zaw, Dr. Khin Maung Aye and Tin Nwe Oo. 

Yangon regional government member Naing Ngan Lin is facing the same charge. 

In Sagaing Region, seven people have been charged since early May with violating the anti-corruption law, including chief minister Dr. Myint Naing, two of his personal assistants, and four members of the regional government.

The NLD-appointed Union-level minister of religion and culture Aung Ko, as well as Mon and Karen states’ chief ministers, Dr. Aye Zan and Dr. Nan Khin Htwe Myint, respectively, have also been charged with corruption by the military council. 

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