Yangon govt. making sweetheart deals, says auditor general

The Yangon region auditor general in a parliamentary session last Wednesday accused the regional government of making sweetheart deals with “privileged” government contractors.

Khin Than Hla made the accusation while reading her office’s 2017-18 fiscal year report on the regional government in the Yangon parliament.

The historic Secretariat building, where general Aung San and several ministers were assassinated shortly before independence, was leased to the Anawmar Company for 50 years, from 2015 until 2069, by the previous government under a build, operate and transfer model, but the company has consistently failed to pay on time, the auditor general said.

The contract also includes a late fee of 10 percent, which the Yangon government has never collected, Khin Than Hla said.

Additionally, the contract delayed the terms of payment from Anawmar until the building’s planned commercial businesses were open to the public, a further privilege the regional government unfairly awarded the company, which took possession of the building before it was commercially viable, she said.

The auditor general also spoke about a 2015 contract the Yangon regional government signed with Myanmar Shwe Ying International Co., Ltd to implement a citywide traffic light and control system for 18.9bn kyats.

According to the contract, Myanmar Shwe Ying is supposed to pay the Yangon government 100,000 kyats for every day the project exceeds its deadline. While the company paid over 28m for running 286 days past its deadline in 2016 and 2017, the project is still incomplete and the company has not paid fines for the last two years at lease, she said.

Khin Than Hla also called a 2017 amendment to that contract barring the government from hiring other towing companies for three years a sweetheart concession.

Kyaw Zay Ya, secretary of the Yangon region parliament’s Finance, Planning and Economic Committee, said the Yangon City Development Committee should have heeded the auditor general’s first warning in 2017.

“That report had already pointed out the city development committee wasn’t collecting all its rental fees in the 2016-17 financial year, yet collection was even lower the next year,” he said.

The committee will discuss the report in detail in Yangon parliamentary meetings starting this week, he said.

The Yangon Public Accounts Committee will also discuss the report in parliament at a meeting scheduled for January 13.


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