Data from probe into du­bi­ous land deals sub­mit­ted to Man­dalay Re­gion gov­ern­ment

The Myanmar Times - - News - MAUNG ZAW maungzaw@mm­

AN in­ves­ti­ga­tion team formed to look into sus­pect land con­ces­sions re­port­edly made dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod ear­lier this year has re­ported its find­ings to the Man­dalay Re­gion gov­ern­ment, ac­cord­ing to team leader U Myint Aung Moe.

“We re­ported the find­ings and sug­ges­tions, as well as ap­praisals. We don’t know yet how the re­gional gov­ern­ment will de­cide con­cern­ing these acres of land and don’t know what day the re­gional gov­ern­ment will de­cide. We have just re­ported the data to the re­gional gov­ern­ment and the re­gional gov­ern­ment must take time to read [the find­ings],” said U Myint Aung Moe, who is also a Na­tional League for Democ­racy law­maker rep­re­sent­ing Chan Mya Tharsi con­stituency No 2.

The for­ma­tion of his team was ap­proved by the Man­dalay Re­gion Hlut­taw on July 1. The team, which sub­mit­ted its find­ings to the gov­ern­ment on Novem­ber 16, was tasked with in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­leged land deals said to have oc­curred sur­rep­ti­tiously be­tween Fe­bru­ary and March, of­ten at be­low-mar­ket rates to peo­ple with ties to the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment.

U Myint Aung Moe said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion team be­gan its work on Au­gust 3 and found that more than 500 acres of public land in Chan Mya Tharsi, Chan Aye Tharzan and Pyi­gy­ita­gun town­ships had been given to more than 240 per­sons. More than 1100 acres in Pathe­ingyi and Amara­pura town­ships like­wise changed hands, in­volv­ing over 160 peo­ple, the team found.

“Ac­cord­ing to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the rel­a­tives of gov­ern­ment cabi­net mem­bers were in­volved in it. They haven’t ac­quired the acres un­der the min­istries’ names. We have only found their rel­a­tives’ names,” said U Myint Aung Moe.

The lands, which had been public, were pre­vi­ously set aside as part of “new city” ur­ban de­vel­op­ment plans or as part of health, ed­u­ca­tion or mar­ket­place ini­tia­tives.

Man­dalay Mayor U Ye Lwin told the re­gional hlut­taw on July 1 that in some cases, the land trans­fers went be­yond the scope of the Man­dalay Re­gion gov­ern­ment’s au­thor­ity.

In other cases, the land that was turned over to pri­vate hands ear­lier this year was sold off at one-fifth of its ac­tual value.

“We have to wait to see how the re­gional gov­ern­ment will de­cide based on the data that has been gath­ered by us,” said U Myint Aung Moe. “We plan to hold a press con­fer­ence if the re­gional gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion is weak. We also want to show the data to the public.”

Man­dalay Re­gion Chief Min­is­ter U Zaw Myint Maung has told law­mak­ers that the gov­ern­ment would re­nege on any un­to­ward land deals un­cov­ered by the in­ves­ti­ga­tion team, with the plots be­ing re­turned to the public and the buy­ers given back their money.

– Trans­la­tion by Win Thaw Tar

‘Ac­cord­ing to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the rel­a­tives of gov­ern­ment cabi­net mem­bers were in­volved.’

U Myint Aung Moe In­ves­ti­ga­tion team leader

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