Mandalay chief minister warns civil servants against corruption
IN the wake of a Pyin Oo Lwin bribery scandal, Mandalay’s chief minister pleaded with the region’s public servants to stamp out corruption in their ranks and put the people they serve first.
In a meeting held at the regional government’s offices last week, Chief Minister U Zaw Myint Maung spoke of the government’s objectives and his own hopes for the region’s civil servants.
“I do not want the general administrative staff to be stained with the taint of corruption while I am chief minister. I recognise that not everyone is perfect and if mistakes have been made it is important to correct them. We have promised to be a government free from corruption,” he said.
He addressed his message to civil servants at all levels and areas of government, not just the staff of the general administration who are directly accountable to him.
“I say this to everyone who serves the public, including to members of the government ... I want you to focus on the public you serve and support their needs,” said U Zaw Myint Maung.
The chief minister specifically mentioned the practice of refusing to carry out certain tasks without extra “tea money” payment and causing unnecessary delays as examples of the type of behaviour to be stamped out.
He warned against conflicts of interest concerning the previous government and urged staff to be loyal to the current government.
The chief minister’s statements come in the wake of charges being filed earlier this month against two officials from the Pyin Oo Lwin township administration office by the anti-bribery commission.
The two officials, who are accused of accepting bribes in relation to a land dispute in Ma Kyee Inn village, are currently awaiting trial according to U Myint Soe, a representative of the Mandalay’s High Court. Assistant director U Tin Naing Soe is alleged to have received K550,000 in cash and gifts, while deputy administrator U Kyaw Kyaw Naing is suspected of receiving a total of K12.5 million in bribes on three separate occasions in 2015.
In April, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi placed a K25,000 cap on the value of individual gifts civil servants are allowed to accept, with K100,000 established as the yearly limit for gifts from an organisation or individuals. The limit was K300,000 under U Thein Sein’s administration. Diplomats and staff in the foreign ministry have a separate set of limits and exemptions.
Transparency International placed Myanmar 147th out of 168 nations in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, ranking it alongside Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. – Translation by San Lay
and Khine Thazin Han
Mandalay Chief Minister U Zaw Myint Maung appealed to civil servants to stop corruption on November 17.