Regime hits Suu Kyi with corruption charges

Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar’s ousted civilian government, was formally charged with corruption on Wednesday, in the latest bid by the ruling regime to permanently end her role in politics.

Three senior Naypyitaw officials also face charges related to the case against the deposed state counsellor, according to the junta-controlled Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper. 

Former Naypyitaw mayor Myo Aung, who was also chair of the Naypyitaw Council, his deputy Ye Min Oo, and Min Thu, a member of the city’s development committee, facilitated Suu Kyi’s alleged crimes, the newspaper said.

The charges have been laid under sections 55 and 63 of Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Law and carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The latest case against Suu Kyi stems from allegations made in March, when the regime televised testimony from a senior government official and a military-linked businessman accusing her of accepting massive bribes.

In a video released on March 11, ousted Yangon chief minister Phyo Min Thein testified that he gave Suu Kyi $600,000 in cash and more than 11kg of gold at her home in Naypyitaw on three separate occasions.

In another video that came out days later, Maung Weik, owner of the Say Paing construction company, claimed that he met with Suu Kyi four times between 2018 and 2020 and gave her a total of more than $550,000 in cash-filled envelopes.

Businessman Maung Weik (first from left) and former Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein (fifth from left) have both accused the deposed state counsellor of accepting bribes. (Maung Weik/ Facebook)

Lawyer Khin Maung Zaw, who leads Suu Kyi’s defence team in six other cases, said that he had not yet seen the file for the corruption case or submitted an application for power of attorney to represent her in this case.

“We’ll find out if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is going to let us represent her in this case at the next hearing on June 14. Most likely, she will,” he told Myanmar Now.

The junta has also accused Suu Kyi of abusing her position as leader of the ruling party to benefit a private foundation named after her mother, as well as an affiliated project. 

It claims that Suu Kyi used her influence to enable the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation to lease land for its headquarters in Yangon’s Bahan Township at below-market rates, costing the country 5.2 billion kyat ($3.16 million) in revenue.

A similar claim was made regarding the foundation’s purchase of land in Naypyitaw for the La Yaung Taw agriculture and vocational training school. The state lost more than 19 billion kyat ($11.5 million) in that transaction, the regime said.

Regarding the charges of bribery laid against the state counsellor, her lawyer dismissed them as “absurd” and “groundless”. 

“I have never met a statesperson more honest or incorruptible than Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. She may have her defects, but personal greed and corruption are not among them,” said Khin Maung Zaw.

“Those who accuse her of greed and corruption are spitting towards the sky,” he added.

National League for Democracy officials could not be reached for comment on the latest charges against the party’s leader.

Suu Kyi, who turns 76 this month, faces a total of more than 40 years in prison if found guilty on all charges against her. She has been in military custody since her government was overthrown on February 1.


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