BANGKOK (AP) – The Myanmar Anti-Corruption Commission under military control has discovered that ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi had accepted bribes and abused her authority to obtain favorable terms in real estate transactions, reported government-controlled media Thursday.
Suu Kyi’s lawyers have previously denied the allegations when they were first raised three months ago by the military regime that toppled its elected government in a coup in February. The commission’s findings come as prosecutors are due to present their case on separate charges against Suu Kyi in court on Monday.
Suu Kyi’s supporters say all the accusations are politically motivated and aimed at discrediting her and legitimizing the military takeover. The coup was extremely unpopular among the Burmese people, who voted overwhelmingly for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in last year’s general election after a first five-year term.
If convicted of any of the offenses, Suu Kyi could be banned from running in the next election, if there is one. The junta has claimed it will hold new elections within a year or two, but the country’s military has a long history of election promises and non-fulfillment.
The military ruled Myanmar for 50 years after a coup in 1962, and kept Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 years after the failure of the 1988 popular uprising against the army regime.
Since the February coup, Suu Kyi has already been accused of disseminating information that could cause public concern or unrest. She also faces two counts of violating the Natural Disaster Management Act for allegedly violating restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020 election campaign; illegally importing walkie-talkies for use by its bodyguards; and unlicensed use of radios.
Another charge, violating the colonial-era official secrets law, is dealt with separately.
Thursday’s report published in the state newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar said complaints based on the findings of the Anti-Corruption Commission were lodged at relevant police stations on Wednesday. Other media, including state television MRTV, broadcast the same report.
The report states that Suu Kyi was charged under Article 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law, which stipulates that political office holders convicted of corruption face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine. It would be the most severe penalty she incurs; the Civil Servants’ Secrets Act provides for a maximum prison term of 14 years.
Kyi Win, an attorney for Suu Kyi and her party, said her legal team will discuss the development with her at their next court hearing on the other outstanding charges.
Thursday’s report said the anti-corruption body discovered that Suu Kyi illegally accepted $ 600,000 and seven gold bars from the former chief minister of the Yangon region, a political ally.
The report also said that the commission discovered that Suu Kyi had abused her position to obtain rental properties at lower than market prices for a charitable foundation named after her mother whom she chaired.
History has accused that the action deprived the state of the income it would otherwise have earned.
“These measures were not carried out in accordance with procedures but with his power and authority,” the report said. “She paid less than the reasonable ground lease prices. “
The Global New Light of Myanmar said the former mayor of the capital Naypyitaw, Myo Aung, who also chaired its development committee, was also charged under Article 55 of the anti-corruption law, as well as the former deputy mayor Ye Min Oo and former committee member Min Thu.