More than a dozen employees, including two deputy directors, were taken for interrogation following a raid on the head office of the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) in Naypyitaw on Thursday after leaked documents revealed that the regime had opened bogus bank accounts to enable the state-owned company to bypass sanctions.
According to sources familiar with the incident, those arrested include Kyaw Kyaw Aung, deputy director of MOGE’s planning department, Nu Nu Yi, the deputy director of the finance department, and other staff from both departments.
At the time of reporting, the exact number of arrested MOGE employees and their whereabouts was still unknown, but the sources said that as many as 20 individuals were believed to be in junta custody.
Sources within the Naypyitaw office told Myanmar Now that the junta forces arrived at the MOGE office building on Thursday afternoon with a list of wanted individuals. All MOGE employees were allowed to leave the office only after 6pm, an hour later than their usual time. They added that the employees were individually inspected at the office’s gate while the main entrance remained closed.
The raid and arrests took place two days after Myanmar Now published an article about the leaked information, which revealed that the junta’s energy ministry had requested the Central Bank of Myanmar to register bank accounts under the beneficiary name of Kant Kaw for MOGE. This was done to enable the enterprise to access blocked funds outside the country after the European Union imposed sanctions on the oil and gas enterprise.
The purpose of this move was to replace the previous banking information of MOGE, which serves as the main source of foreign revenue for Myanmar’s military junta, generating hundreds of millions of dollars from natural gas projects.
Since the EU imposed sanctions on MOGE in February, more than US$504.3 million has been held in foreign bank accounts by the enterprise, as explained in the leaked letter. These funds represent the revenue generated from three projects: Shwe Gas, Myanmar-China Oil & Gas Pipelines, and Yadana Gas.
MOGE operates under the regime’s energy ministry, and its current managing director is Aung Min. Alongside MOGE, there are other main departments under the ministry, including the Energy Planning Department, Myanma Petrochemical Enterprise, and Myanma Petroleum Products Enterprise.