Anti-Corruption Commission Urged to Investigate Mon Gov’t

The call comes amid concerns about the way the government is awarding contracts and financing infrastructure projects.

Thursday, June 21, 2019

A group of local people from Mon State have called on Burma’s Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate their state government over what they see as irregularities in the way it is handling the state’s finances.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to the commission and the State Counselor’s Office, the group of nine local citizens cited two major complaints that they said warranted a thorough investigation.

The first was the state government’s failure to issue a call for tender before awarding a contract for construction of a road between Aung Thabyay and Nit-Karen in Ye Township. Worth one billion kyat (US$650,000), the contract was given to the Southern Myanmar Development Co., Ltd. without seeking bids from other companies.

The other complaint was related to the construction of a waste disposal plant that had been fully funded by the state government but was fifty-percent financed by the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda Trust Fund, at the government’s request.

The first issue was raised on May 3 during the 13th session of the state parliament by its deputy chairman, Dr. Aung Naing Oo. Four days later, he also asked about the financing of the Kyaiktiyo waste disposal plant.

In response to Dr. Aung Naing Oo’s question about the road construction contract, the state’s chief minister, Dr. Aye Zan, said that State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi had “verbally agreed” with his decision not to consider other contractors for the job. However, at a press conference held a month later, he said the decision had been made by his government alone.

“They [MPs] have discussed the tender issue in parliament. We are still waiting for an update. Now this case has been reported to the Anti-Corruption Commission, so I think something will happen. In my opinion, the activities of the Mon State government are going in the wrong direction,” Nai Mon Chan, one of signatories of the letter, told NMG.

In late May, the founders of the Mon Unity Party released a statement urging the state government to be more transparent. It said that failing to do so would create more friction between the government and the parliament and weaken checks and balances between them.