Junta hits Magway Region chief minister with new corruption charge

The military council filed a second corruption charge against Dr Aung Moe Nyo, the detained Magway Region chief minister under the National League for Democracy (NLD) government, on Monday. 

Facing the same charge are Magway’s minister for social welfare, Dr Khin Maung Aye, and Tin Nwe Oo, the regional minister for transportation and construction, according to their lawyer. 

“The military filed charges against the three of them for alleged misconduct in the tenders regarding the construction of Magway Education College in 2020,” Aung Naing, the group’s lawyer, said. 

The junta accused the trio in June of costing the government nearly 54m kyat ($28,727) when they allegedly selected a company for the project in a manner that was not in accordance with tender regulations. 

“We still haven’t received copies of the documents or the evidence submitted by the prosecution for the new corruption charge. Our request is that his trial continue only after the court has approved [our request] to obtain those documents,” the lawyer said. 

Another charge was filed against the 63-year-old chief minister and NLD central executive committee member under Section 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law on June 23. The statute states that those in political office who are convicted of bribery face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, as well as a fine. 

The junta’s previous corruption charge is linked to the allegation that Aung Moe Nyo accepted 50m kyat (US$26,540) from the Denko Petrol Company and subsequently provided the company with land on which to construct a petrol station, according to Aung Naing. 

On June 8, the chief minister was also given a two-year prison sentence for incitement charges filed against him by the junta for allegedly violating Section 505b of the Penal Code. 

Multiple NLD chief ministers who are also members of the party’s central executive committee have been charged by the junta with corruption and incitement in recent months. 

Aung Moe Nyo’s legal team has only able to meet with him during his court hearings, since they have not been granted permission to speak with their client privately, Aung Naing said.

The lawyer explained that during his brief discussions with the chief minister at the hearings, his client had told him that the money in question—50m kyat—was spent on the development of Magway Region. 

“He is not guilty as he did not use the money for his own personal use. He only used it for the wellbeing of the community,” Aung Naing told Myanmar Now. 

Aung Moe Nyo was placed under house arrest after the February 1 coup that ousted the elected NLD administration. He was moved to Magway Prison after he livestreamed his opposition to the coup on social media from house arrest.  

Although there have been rumours that Aung Moe Nyo was also facing charges under Section 25 of the Disaster Management Law, his lawyer told Myanmar Now that he had not been charged under the statute in court.

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