An article in the issue of 28 June, 2014 newspaper called, “To be effective”
- Sat, 28 June 2014
Originally I did not intend to write this article, but people around me, friends and many others were talking about it. Media were writing about it. Cartoonists drew cartoons about it. My colleagues encouraged me to write about it and I happened to write about it. To tell you the truth, I am rather lazy to write such things apart from office letters. I just have to say it is a bad habit.
Everybody wants to know what the commission has been doing since it was formed. It has been formed and nothing has come out of it. What is it going to do? People will not be discouraged. It hasn’t taken any action yet. People might be dissatisfied. Yes, it should be like that. It is also natural. In our country, every government department, everywhere, there is bribery and it has become a rooted habit and it is happening and people are experiencing and feeling it and getting upset and annoyed. It has been like well-rooted cancer for many years. It is natural for a person to want to get rid of the cancer, to get angry and to be upset. Here, we have to think of the way how to get it cured. Even if we can’t get it completely cured, we must try as much as we can to suffer less.
That is why a law to take action against those who are corrupt and bribe was prescribed by the Hluttaw. That law was confirmed by the sighing of the president on 7 August, 2013.It came into effect starting from 17 September, 2014. After this, the anti-corruption commission was formed on 25 February, 2014 by order No. 6/2014 made by the office of the president. And then, the office of the anti-corruption was opened at athletes’ camp in Wunnatheikdi in Nay Pyi Taw on 10 March, 2014 and ever since then, it has been carrying out its responsibilities.
Once the commission was formed, the office of the commission did not appear automatically. There were 15 members including one chairman. It is not easy to create a new office and a new department, but by the guidance of the president, with the support and help from the departments of the ministries, in a very short time, we could start operating our work. To succeed in the work to fight against corruption needs expertise and qualified staff. To put it in practice, we must understand law. We need work experience. We also need skilled workers. So, we looked for a away to work in a short time. Law clause No. 17 (E) mentions that in implementing this law, the necessary support and help can be obtained from the people from government departments, governmental organizations and non- governmental organizations. As said in the clause, to perform our duties, we requested other ministries to help fill the workforce at the commission. Now the work is in full swing with the available staff. However, we are trying to appoint new staff by ourselves.
Letters of complaints started arriving as soon as the anti-corruption commission was formed. The commission scrutinized them according to the clause 16 (). We found after scrutinizing the complaint letters that some were nothing to do with the work of the anti-corruption commission and some to be tried in courts. Some were concerned with personal hatred and they were sending them repeatedly. Some were to be carried out by ministries and regional and state governments instead they sent them to the anti-corruption commission. Sometimes we even found that they named it bribery but when reading the letter, there was nothing to do with bribery. Some letters said that it was corruption and they were about a page and no strong evidence was found and it was written generally. Some letters were about money problems that happened outside and they should be put to courts but they were sent to the anti-commission to take the money back for them. We also found in some letters that they would try till the end but later we didn’t know how they negotiated and sent us a letter saying that their letter of complaint was withdrawn. In some, people were trying to cover their faults by writing such a complaint and used the commission as a stepping stone and trying to get pity. In some letters there were no signatures and they were like anonymous letters. This is what the commission has found after scrutinizing, investigating and studying the complaints these days.
Our anti-corruption commission came to exist according to the law of fighting against the corruption and we must implement this law in fighting against corruption and bribery Our organization is an organization that has to abide by the prescribed law and we work with caution. In clause 22, it is mentioned that the commission shall not investigate the following.
- The complaints that have been investigated by the commission
- The complaints that do not bear strong evidence
- A repeated complaint that bears no new evidence.
As said in the clause 22(B) there should be strong evidence in the complaint. It means that the commission mustn’t work on the letter without reference to any evidence. There is another thing that can give trouble to the one who writes letter of complaint about someone that he or she knows very little. That is clause No. 46. Clause 144 is about anyone who sends a report or complaint deliberately without strong evidence with the purpose of suffering someone or hurting someone’s pride can be taken action according to this law. By looking at the complaints, it is learnt that people clearly don’t know where to send their complaints, how to write them and what they should complain about.
That’s is why the commission put its news report in the issues of 10 and 11 April, 2014 of the New Light of Myanmar and the Mirror newspapers. If you look at it, you will see how this law came to exist and the purpose of this law in paragraph 1, and the meanings of corruption and bribery in paragraph 2. The paragraph 3 highlights that the spread of bribery can affect not only government departments, organizations and all staff but also all areas. It is mentioned that in all areas there could be “bad ones” so it is hoped that with this purpose, it is written to accept the reality.
It is summarized in paragraph 4 that how the state is performing to make the government organizations free of corruption and bribery. Paragraph 6 is about the complaint letters with reference to the prescription in the clause 22. They should be written with strong evidence so that the commission could proceed according to the law. Paragraph 7 was written with the purpose of clarifying clause 46 and having a good understanding things said in clause 46.
The commission fully understands the feelings of the people and it also wishes to fulfill the wish of the people. So the paragraph 8 in the news report says that in writing a complaint, to be more effective, strong evidence and full information should be included. It would be supportive in investigating if full information is mentioned. Moreover, why make-too of national registration card and contact address should be mentioned is if necessary to contact while investigating, they would be contacted. In some cases, people use other people’s names in sending a complaint. That is why it is written here to prevent from happening like this.
Clause 46 was written not to frighten the person who was going to complain. It is prescribed just to be fair for both sides as the nature of the law. The Yazatha, currently used and has been used for many years, writes that anyone who misinforms and complains falsely will be taken action. The purpose of releasing this news report is to fulfill the wish of the people, to be able to complain effectively and to be able to fight well against the corruption.
One more that should be known is clause 21. It says that the commission is able to investigate the following according to the law.
- When the president assigns the commission to investigate and report
- When the Hluttaw concerned assigns the commission to investigate and report about a person who is currently holding a political post in line with the clause 43 proposed by Hluttaw representatives.
- The one who has suffered complains to
- The commission
- Work committee, work group, preliminary investigating group and preliminary investigating group formed in accordance with this law.
- a government department concerned and a government organization and then it hands over to the commission.
As a commission, when it receives a complaint, first, it scrutinizes it whether it is as written in the clause 20 and 22. Only after that we study the contents of the letter in full detail. We discuss and we conclude. Then we decide whether we should continue to investigate or not.
The ones who suffer because of corruption and bribery are the people. People complain that if they don’t give anything no one does anything. They feel worried. That is why they complain .If someone really suffers and complains, the commission will really work effectively for them. That is why it is requested that strong evidence should be mentioned in the complaint.
There are complaints that are true. But it is also found that there are some who write letters of complaints for money. It means that they live on the money received from the people who know nothing and suffer. They should be well avoided.
Actually, corruption and bribery are bad deeds and useless for the present and future life. It gives trouble to 7- day- born- people. The best way to get rid of them is to safeguard oneself. I wish to reduce them by staying away from them rather than being taken action and punished. I think it is just a reason that they take bribe for their living. My point of view is that it depends individually. Some are very poor but they work uprightly. And there are many who are very rich and take bribe. People who are very rich but very greedy, not content with what they have and too egocentric will practise this easily. The main thing that I would like to suggest is to correct with great notice.
I am writing this not to take action against them or to avoid taking action against them. The commission has been determined to take action against those who take bribe since it was formed. Our commission will do the job of it as the purpose of the law as a national duty and will take action against those who corrupt. The words spoken by reform process leading committee chairman, the president at the meeting in the hall of the president’s house were:
“I would like to encourage that the anti-corruption commission work freely and clearly vested by the law to be able to investigate and take action.”
I would like to say that the guideline by the president consolidated our determination more and it is also a force in us to work rightly.
Aung Thitsar (Commission)