"To Be Enunciation" (An article appeared in newspapers dated 28-11-2014)

  • Fri, 28 November 2014

I think you might remember that I wrote an article called, “To be more effective” when it was formed as an anti-bribery commission, it later became an anti-corruption commission. At that time, my purpose of writing this article was that the letters of complaint should be in accordance with the provisions in the law, with strong evidence so that the commission would be able to take action more comfortably.

The Union Hluttaw promulgated the law that amended the anti-corruption law on 23 July, 2014 and it was released as the union law No. 32. In accordance with this law, by the order no. 19/2014 of the president, the anti-bribery commission became the anti- corruption commission on 4 August, 2014. After it had got its new name, the commission released its news report a second time on 18 October, 2014. In that news report, the commission mentioned that it had received 533 letters of complaint between 10 March, 2014 on which the commission was formed and 21 October, 2014. Of all the complaints, 170 were of land, 95 were of judicial, 238 were of administrative and 30 were of miscellaneous. Yes, of 533, you might want to ask why we took action against only three complaints.

Our commission has to abide by the provisions written for anti-bribery and anti-corruption.  We can’t astray from the provision and we also can’t slip it. We have to do everything within the framework of the law permitted.

We received 533 letters of complaint and 167 letters did not show strong evidence. As mentioned in the previous article and according to action 22 (B), if there is no strong evidence, the commission can’t take action. Similarly, another 108 letters did not show new strong evidence and according to action 22(c) we could not take action. Here what I would like to say is that people repeatedly sent their complaints on the same thing by copying. Some sent over twenty times and sometimes nearly 30 times. Such kind of people was about 4 or 5. We received 95 letters and they were in connection with judicial matters. We could proceed only two and other letters did not clearly mention about the corruption and they just said about bias. Some sent us complaints that were being trialed in courts no sentences were made yet. Some letters were sent to us before the verdicts in courts. If we thought that it was good for the court to know about the letters, we sent them to the Supreme Court. The commission always tries not to meddle in the work of judges who decide as written in the law.

After scrutinizing the letters, if they had nothing to do with the commission, with the ministries concerned or state and region governments, they were recorded and kept in files. If the letter had nothing to do with the commission and had to do with administrative department concerned, it would be sent to them. If it was in accordance with the law and it went with the provision in action 22, the commission started investigating.

When giving the letters to the ministries, region and state governments concerned, if necessary, we requested them to send us the progress made. If not necessary, we didn’t. Among 533 letters, we sent 42 letters to the ministries concerned. We requested 17 to send us how they investigated and we had received from 13. We learnt that they were still working on it. We had received from  23 out of 48 sent from us from 92 which were sent to region and state governments. Giving them the complaints and asking for requests were not ot meddle in their work. It was to solve the problems that the people who complained were facing and the suffering that the people who complained had. It was also found that the problems were solved by the help of the ministries concerned and the government organizations concerned.

This is about the 533 letters of complaint and about the press release about them on 18 September, 2014. After that we received more complaints and when we studied them we found that they had nothing to do with this commission. They were about land grabs. The purpose of writing was to get the land back. Some were to handle by the development departments. Some letters were written by those who were not satisfied because other people got the chance to do the business. Some were written that they lost all the courts and said that the bailiff did not work fairly. Some wrote to us that even though they could go to court for appeal they complained to the commission. Some complained to us because they( among brothers, sisters, mother) were not satisfied with the inheritance they received. Some wrote us that there was a KTV in the ward and it would cause problems for the youth. One strange thing was that a person who ran away from the law was writing letters to the commission without facing the law rightly. Some letters were about people who borrowed money with great interest and when the time came to pay back they wrote to the commission that they took great interest in lending money so the commission should take action against them. The commission is not allowed to investigate such people. If they don’t have license to do that there are rules and regulations to take action against them.

Our commission investigates if it is in accordance with the paragraphs 6 and 8 in the press release on 10 April, 2014, and paragraphs 8 and 9 in the press release on 18 September, 2014. If not, we would not be able to reach our purpose. It is very difficult for us to take action if the letters are not written in accordance with the provision although there are many letters. We should take care that if we don’t do according to law, we break the law.

There is one more that I would like you to know. It is complaints about misdeeds of government departments and organizations. There are many kinds of misdeeds. It is not corrupt or bribery that someone from the government department misuses the money owned by the state. To take action against misuse of the public property, misuse of the public finance under one’s own management and misuse of public property, there are provisions such as public property protection law section 6(1), criminal law section 409 and other protection law section 3 which have already been in existence. Such cases should be informed to the ministry of home affairs and to the office of auditor general to more effective and treated well. In some countries, it is accepted as corrupt when state-own- finance and public finance and property are misused. It is prescribed as the situations that happen in their countries. But in our country, we cannot take action against to those who misuse the state-own-finance and public finance and property by the law of the anti-corruption commission. They are to be dealt with the laws mentioned above.

Previously existed provisions in criminal laws and 1984 prohibition against corruption law are no longer in use for corruption and bribery. Anti-corruption law in 2013 has been in force. It is clearly mentioned in section 68, ‘ Whether it be in connection with corruption or whether one has become rich because of corruption or whether it is investigated in connection with money and properties, whatever is mentioned in the existing law, it must be done with this law. We found in some that the corruption happened four or five years ago and they wrote about this in their complaints and sent them to us. As I have mentioned somewhere above we have to follow all the provisions written for this commission, we can’t take any action against those who had committed this corruption before the law was in existence. To put it in most clear way, this law has been in force since September 17, 2013. That is why we can’t work with the corruptions that happened before this date. Regarding this, if we study the section 3(e) of 1973 which is about the definitions of the words, we will be clearer. In that section, ‘If a law does not clearly mention that it has influence what happened in the past, it cannot influence what happened? But now you can ask,’ Can’t we take action against corruptions that happened before this law?’ This law (section 73 ) has taken the place of 1948 law of protection against corruption (section no. 67/48). That is why you can’t take action against those because it has been cancalled.

Why I am explaining about this is not because we don’t want to take action against those. But because I want all the people to understand the purpose of the provision and as mentioned in the provision, we will be able to take action against those who are corrupt. When you put a case to the court, you have to show strong evidence and it also has to conform to the provision. You can’t build a case with what you hear from outside. You have to know all the things to build a case so that you will be able to win. That is why I would like to encourage all of you to send us your complaints with strong evidence, in accordance with the provision and complete data.


Aung Thitsar (Commission)