The former chief minister of central Myanmar’s Magwe region on Thursday returned 3 billion (U.S. $2.2 million) kyats in missing funds to the regional government and said he will transfer nearly 5 billion (U.S. $3.6 million) more this week, a regional government official said.
“Three billion kyats was transferred from the account of Kyi Soe, who is the representative of former Chief Minister Phone Maw Shwe,” said Nay Myo Kyaw, Magwe’s immigration minister. “They will transfer about 5 billion kyats tomorrow.”
“This means they will return all they have, although they promised to return only 5 billion kyats during the first week of May,” he said.
Questions about the money arose a year ago when a lawmaker from Magwe’s Pwintbyu township asked parliament about the alleged embezzlement of regional development funds collected as taxation from small-scale oil producers in Magwe region by the previous regional government.
The Bureau of Special Investigations under the Ministry of Home Affairs began probing the matter and found that 7.5 billion kyats (U.S. $5.5 million) was missing, more than 3 billion of which had been spent on the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which was then in power.
Nay Myo Kyaw, minister of labor and migration for Magwe region, said on a debate program broadcast on April 1 that he was starting an investigation of the missing funds, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported.
The current ruling government under the National League of Democracy (NLD) party sent letters dated April 18 to Phone Maw Shwe and Nyi Tun asking them to provide an explanation for the missing funds and return the money along with four motor vehicles, a backhoe, and two speedboats that had been donated to the USDP through the Magwe Division Development Foundation.
Phone Maw Shwe, who served as chairman of the USDP’s Magwe region chapter while he was chief minister, and Kyi Tun, chairman of Shwe Thukha Microcredit Association and chairman of the Magwe Division Development Foundation, sent a letter to current Magwe chief minister Aung Moe Nyo on April 27 indicating that they would transfer part of the funds to the regional government during the first week of May.
Reported by Myint Zaw Oo for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.