YANGON—Former Tanintharyi Region chief minister Daw Lei Lei Maw was sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison for bribery on Friday, becoming the most senior official ever to be jailed under the country’s Anti-Corruption Law.
The Tanintharyi Region Court handed down sentences in four cases against her and three others on Friday after more than a yearlong trial.
Daw Lei Lei Maw was arrested in March last year, right after the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the four cases under Article 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law, each carrying sentences of up to 15 years in prison. She was sacked from her position following her arrest. The court also confiscated a house owned by Daw Lei Lei Maw’s family in Thayetchaung Township, declaring it to be state property.
In two of the cases, Global Grand Services (GGS) managing director U Thein Htwe, director U Aung Myat and general manager U Thura Ohn were charged with abetting and conspiring to commit corruption under articles 55 and 63 of the Anti-Corruption Law. The two directors received 10 years’ imprisonment each and the general manager was sentenced to a five-year term, local media outlet Dawei Watch reported.
The ACC found that Daw Lei Lei Maw abused her position and committed corruption on a number of occasions since April 2016—just weeks after she was appointed as head of the regional government.
She was charged with corruption in relation to a contract worth 400 million kyats (US$280,000) to clear land of bushes outside Dawei Airport, and for failing to pay the regional Road Management Department for a wall it built around land plots in Dawei owned by her husband until after the ACC started its investigation. In a separate incident, she was also found to have inappropriately allocated a large amount of funds to the department. She also sold her house, which was valued at 32 million kyats, to GGS for 200 million kyats and abused her power to award an electricity distribution contract to GGS.
The company was also awarded contracts to construct a fish market, the city hall building and low-cost housing.
Daw Lei Lei Maw, who was formerly an elected representative for the National League for Democracy (NLD) from the region, is the first chief minister and the highest-ranked official to be charged under the Anti-Corruption Law since the NLD took power in 2016.TOP IMAGE: Then Tanintharyi Region Chief Minister Daw Lei Lei Maw in 2017 / Myo Min Soe / The Irrawaddy