Myanmar military junta adds bribery charge on Aung San Suu Kyi

The junta charged Ms Aung San Suu Kyi with violating an anti-corruption law, which carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.
The junta charged Ms Aung San Suu Kyi with violating an anti-corruption law, which carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.PHOTO: AFP

YANGON (BLOOMBERG) - Myanmar's military regime piled more charges on ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi as it seeks to justify a Feb 1 coup and ensure she stays behind bars.

The junta charged Ms Suu Kyi with violating an anti-corruption law, which carries a maximum of 15 years in prison, according to a broadcast on state-run MRTV. That adds to four other charges the junta had previously filed at a court in Naypyitaw, the capital.

The broadcast showed a video clip of Say Paing Construction chairman Maung Weik saying that he paid US$550,000 (S$737,000) to Ms Suu Kyi at her residence in four batches from 2018 to April last year in order to be able to do his projects smoothly. He said there were no witnesses.

The authorities have prevented Ms Suu Kyi from meeting her legal team, which has denied wrongdoing and views all the charges as political.

A court hearing for Ms Suu Kyi scheduled on Monday (March 15) was postponed due to a lack of Internet at the court, as the regime cut communications to stem nationwide protests that have left more than 200 people dead.

The junta accused Ms Suu Kyi of using some funds donated to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation for personal gain, leasing state-owned land for the foundation's office and purchasing land for a vocational training centre in Naypyitaw at a lower price than the market value.

Previously, she was charged under the Export-Import Law, the Natural Disaster Management Law, Telecommunications Law and Incitement under a section of the colonial-era penal code.