Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman U Than Swe A Presentation on the Implementation of Anti-Corruption Activities at the Commemorative Ceremony of the International Anti-Corruption Day

  • Tue, 13 December 2022

1. First, I would like to offer my prayers for the Chairman of the State Administration Council, who also serves as the Prime Minister and delivered the opening speech. I extend my prayers to all members of the State Administration Council and our distinguished guests attending today’s International Anti-Corruption Day Commemorative Ceremony, wishing them good health and happiness.

2. I will provide a brief explanation of the Anti-Corruption Commission’s activities and outline the upcoming steps.

3. As corruption is a global issue, the 58th United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2003 to collectively combat it. Member countries began signing the agreement on December 9th, 2003. Myanmar joined UNCAC in 2005 and was ratified as the 165th member country in 2012.

4. After becoming a member of UNCAC, Myanmar intensified its anti-corruption efforts, aligning with international standards and best practices. This included the enactment of an Anti-Corruption Law with 73 sections in 2013 and the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission and Commission Office in 2014, in accordance with international norms.

5. Since 2014, the Commission has established four strategic goals, which are as follows:

(1) To develop a clean government and good governance system;

(2) To mitigate the loss of national funds due to corruption in government departments;

(3) To eradicate systemic corruption entrenched within public institutions; and 

(4) To improve the level of the control of corruption index released by the World Bank.  

6. As the Myanmar Anti-Corruption Commission, in 2019, we established Corruption Prevention Units (CPUs) in Union-level organizations and ministries to more effectively implement our strategic goals. Initially, 14 CPUs were formed in 2019, and by September 2022, we expanded this initiative to include 38 CPUs across all Union-level organizations and ministries. Additionally, in October 2022, we successfully expanded and organized CPUs in government offices in (14) regions and states, enabling us to carry out anti-corruption activities more effectively.

7. The Commission is managing three main work processes to implement the strategic goals. These processes are;

(1) Awareness raising and prevention,

(2) Investigation and taking action, and

(3) Promoting international cooperation.

8. Among these activities, the awareness and prevention process is crucial. As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure,” corruption risks can be reduced through the promotion of awareness, rules, regulations, procedures, and ethical standards to prevent it before it occurs.

9. As part of our awareness and prevention efforts, we regularly broadcast anti-corruption awareness programs on state-owned television and publish related articles in newspapers and social media networks, including Facebook accounts. Additionally, educational programs are aired on weekends, including Saturdays, Sundays, and every business holiday, with monthly newspaper publications and weekly educational news updates. State personnel receive focused attention on awareness and prevention through programs offered by state civil service universities and ministries. Furthermore, the departmental Corruption Prevention Units (CPUs) conducted 5,682 educational conversations, 381 seminars, 283 opening lectures, and distributed 46,886 educational pamphlets.

10. Departmental CPUs not only provide training and establish a complaint system but also educate their staff on petty corruption, which is investigated at the departmental level, and grand corruption, which is referred to the Commission. Furthermore, the department is actively implementing the Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) program, and the Public Feedback Program (PFP). The Commission addresses and discusses technical concerns to facilitate these procedures while providing training. 40 CPUs from the States and Regions are scheduled for training, expected to be completed by February, 2023.

11. The PFP program is based on the World Bank’s ICT-based proactive beneficiary engagement mechanism and has been developed and tailored to the specific needs of Myanmar. Under this program, Data Entry Offices (DEOs) are established within government departments that provide public services. These offices collect mobile phone numbers of service recipients and solicit feedback via SMS to assess their satisfaction with the services and gather suggestions. The program also utilizes the short code “1111” to enable free SMS communication.

12. The PFP system is not a complaint system; instead, it gathers feedback from individuals who receive services from the department to assess and address their needs. Currently, 1,100 DEOs have been established across 33 ministries, and as the expansion and establishment of DEOs continue, they will play a more effective role in preventing corruption.

13. The Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) process is one of the duties and functions of the CPU. To date, the CRA procedure has been conducted in 12 Ministries. It’s worth noting that conducting the CRA more comprehensively can lead to further corruption prevention.

14. Throughout human history, ethics and established customs have played a crucial role in preventing corruption. The Commission recognizes the importance of preserving customs and traditions to uphold ethical standards. Teaching and training from a young age are the most effective ways to achieve this.

15. To foster a future built on integrity, the Commission is cooperating with the Ministry of Education to integrate integrity and ethics into the curriculum of basic education schools and universities, starting in the 2020-2021 academic year. Collaborating with international organizations, we have developed necessary school textbooks, teacher’s guides, and materials for elementary education, which have been translated into Myanmar. Since November 2022, the education program has been distributed to Universities and implemented in Nay Pyi Taw and major cities with branch offices. Currently, 43 schools have completed the program, and there are plans for broader implementation.

16. Grand corruption issues primarily arise from illicit activities involving commercial entities and individuals in positions of power. In collaboration with the UMFCCI, the Commission published a joint anti-corruption declaration in 2008. Furthermore, the Commission’s notification No. 4/2018 has previously outlined the fundamental principles that private firms should adhere to when developing a Code of Conduct.

17. To effectively reduce corruption, action must be taken against both the people who give or take the bribe. We encourage individuals to raise awareness about the revised and enforced laws and to develop and implement a Code of Conduct (CoC) in private firms.

18. One of the Commission’s primary functions is to investigate and identify instances of corruption, taking legal action as necessary. To accomplish this, the Commission has established a review group to assess the veracity of corruption allegations. Inspection teams have been organized to conduct in-depth examinations and identify findings, after which cases are transferred and submitted to the relevant Ministry/Institution.

19 Since the Commission’s inception in 2014, 35204 complaints have been received, with 1803 verified complaints examined and resolved. Under the Anti-Corruption law, criminal action was brought against 2415 civil workers who committed minor corruption and 292 who committed serious corruption. Of the 292 people charged under the anti-corruption law; 64 were currently in political posts, 20 were high-ranking officials, 77 were civil servant officers, 82 were civil servant staff, 18 were public employees, and 31 were non-employees.

20. Corruption serves as a root cause of numerous disputes worldwide, deeply impacting the security, education, economy, social development, and rule of law in countries. According to United Nations research surveys, global losses due to corruption exceed 2.6 trillion dollars, equivalent to approximately 5% of the global GDP. The World Bank estimates that bribery alone costs the world more than $1 trillion USD annually. Moreover, international crimes often involve significant corruption, prompting countries worldwide to collaborate in its eradication. This year’s International Anti-Corruption Day carries the theme “UNCAC AT 20: UNITING THE WORLD AGAINST CORRUPTION,” urging the world to unite in the fight against corruption in the coming year.

21. Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Commission is actively expanding international cooperation. We became a member of the ASEAN Parties Against Corruption (ASEAN-PAC) in 2013, following our accession to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2012. Subsequently, we signed memorandums of understanding with anti-corruption organizations in India, the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. On November 22, 2022, during the ASEAN-PAC Principals Meeting in Phnom Penh, Myanmar also signed Memorandums of Understanding with ACU Cambodia and in ASEAN-PAC MoU. Additionally, we collaborate with the United Nations and various other international organizations.

22. The Commission participated in 60 international Anti-Corruption meetings, with representatives attending 44 workshops and 34 training sessions. These interactions allowed for the exchange of experiences, and we plan to continue our cooperation.

23. The Commission serves as the national anti-corruption task force because corruption is at the core of many crises facing nations today. Besides taking legal action against petty corruption in accordance with civil service legislation, we are actively prosecuting individuals engaged in grand corruption driven by greed. A clean government is essential for an effective administrative system, benefiting everyone within the national administration. Education is crucial, and we are strengthening prevention and protection measures to promote strong ethical values. Upholding ethical discipline is not only vital for law enforcement but also for the public, individuals, and the state administration. To combat corruption and poverty, it’s essential for all social organizations, from local communities to families, to uphold these principles. We urge everyone to cooperate with us to realize the slogan of “Remove Corruption, Promote Prosperity.” By doing so, we can break the cycle of corruption and poverty, avoiding conflicts and their detrimental effects.