Govt Ministry Files Lawsuit Over Graft Claims
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Govt Ministry Files Lawsuit Over Graft Claims

By THE IRRAWADDY Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rangoon-based The Voice Weekly is facing a defamation lawsuit for printing allegations of government corruption. (Photo: The Voice Weekly)

The Burmese Ministry of Mining has followed through on its threat and filed a lawsuit against The Voice Weekly journal after allegations of corruption were reported last week.

The director of the Ministry of Mining lodged a defamation lawsuit against the Rangoon-based publication at Dagon Township Court in the city late last week, claims a court official would asked to remain anonymous.

“The director and his adviser told the court that what was written in the journal defamed them,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The publisher of The Voice Weekly, the journalist who wrote the article and the responsible editor have been summoned to appear at a hearing on March 22 to respond to the allegations.

Modern Journey journal is facing a similar lawsuit after an engineer from the Ministry of Construction launched a civil action after an article was printed concerning the poor condition of roads in Mandalay. Representatives from the publication will appear in Mandalay District Court on March 23.

Journalists in Burma have been outspoken in their criticism of these cases and say they will stand together united to fight for justice against these unwarranted restrictions on the media.

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi told reporters on Wednesday that the Burmese government is still restricting media freedom, and cited the case of The Voice Weekly as an example.

By restricting media freedom, the government is preventing the country from developing, she said, adding the Ministry of Mining's lawsuit is one of the ways that the government attempts to gag the media.

The Nobel laureate made the statement at a press conference at her lakeside home in Rangoon following a meeting with US Special Envoy to Burma Derek Mitchell.

The Voice Weekly and other Burmese media outlets reported accusations of corruption within six key ministries with regards the misuse of billions of kyat of government funds and engaging in a variety of illegal transactions.

The articles were based on a government audit report which is the subject of ongoing discussions between members of Burma's Lower House of Parliament.

The Voice Weekly reported that the Ministry of Mining-1 sold 50 percent of a copper mining project to Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings (UMEH) for US $100 million. But allegedly Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd. Of Hong Kong paid the Ministry of Mining instead of UMEH.

The six ministries mentioned in the audit report were the Ministry of Information, Ministry of Cooperatives, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Ministry of Mining, and Ministries of Industry (1) and (2).

The Ministry of Mining is the only one to have responded to these allegations at the present time.

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Oo Maung Gyi Wrote:
Corruption is in their nurves and viens, and clicking power together without shame. How can they have so much amout of money with their salary? Government audit had said that there is unusual transaction, still the miniter wants to defend at the court because present Burma judicial system is also under highly corrupted, so they are all bird of the same feather flock together.

KML Wrote:
What judicial system to hear the allegation lawsuit? Instead of wasting tome and energy, the law makers should find the way to get rifd of corruption culture across the board. CORRUPTION IS OPEN SECRET IN BURMA.

Ma Lay Wrote:
This is the way of military government’s old method to sway the public interest away from the new that surfaced such as “the Ministry of Mining-1 sold 50 percent of a copper mining project to Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings (UMEH) for US $100 million. But allegedly Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd. Of Hong Kong paid the Ministry of Mining instead of UMEH.”

The military government do not want public to emphasis or continue to have more interest and surfacing the unwanted information to the public regarding above new relating to military owned UMEH and MEC.

There was a question regarding UMEH’s business nature at the parliament but yet to have answers on it. For the time being, military government will try to stop public interest and curious upon UMEH and arrange to cover the tons of dust of UMEH & MEC under the carpet or try to do window dressing such as creating back dated share certificates to be evidence that it is owned by lay peoples.

luusoelay Wrote:
Now, real Burmese soap operas begin until shut down by government.

Peace Wrote:
Your Honesty Minister of Mining 1
I have some words to you. Yes, It is your right to defend yourself. But are you sure enough to say you are entirely free from corruption? If so, do it till the end. Otherwise, you will be ashamed in front of others.

jhh Wrote:
ko aung zaw, r u willing to do for your own country? U came to your mother land but live in Thailand.u meet government official.Do you really want to contribute to your country.I know you have rich knowledge in Media.

A.M.O Wrote:
What, Defamation ?

Do you guys got any code of conduct or ethics ?

You guys are part of "Ali Baba & Forty thieves" - dubbed for Sr Gen Than Shwe's cabinet, Hm !

Come on, you guys are all thieves, no doubt about it. Corruption is a way of life for you guys; that is why you guys are clinging on to your jobs no matter what.

No way FDI investments could come in, man !

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