1. The anti-corruption measures in Myanmar can be dated back to the time of colonial era. The Civil Supplies Theft Prevention Committee was first formed on 23 December 1947 to prevent theft and corruption in the provision of government supplies to the public after the 2nd World War. Later the Public Property Protection Committee and the Public Property Protection Police (P-4) were assigned for investigation of such crimes. Actions on bribery and corruption were made in accordance with Chapter IX - 'Of Offences By Or Relating To Public Servants' of the Penal Code, 1861.
2. In order to more effectively prevent corruption, the Suppression of Corruption Act was enacted in 1948 in which 6 sections were contained. The Act was amended 4 times. Under Section 4-2 of the Act, public servants shall be punishable with imprisonment up to 7 years and the proceeds of the crime shall be confiscated if they commit four kinds of offences prescribed in Section 4-1 such as receiving gratification habitually other than legal remuneration, receiving valuable things for himself or for other person in return for his or his senior official's act, receiving valuable thing or money by abusing his position and fraud or misappropriation of trusted property.
3. In 1951, the Bureau of Special Investigation Act was enacted and the Special Investigation Administrative Board was formed under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister with a number of staff of 315. The Special Investigation Administrative Board was dissolved in 1963 and the Bureau of Special Investigation has been formed under the Ministry of Home Affairs since then. It was renamed as the Special Investigation Department in 1972.
4. Governments have done measures to combat and prevent corruption. However, corruption exists and some responsible officials disregard the dignity of the State and their reputation by breaking the law and thus corruption becomes widened as a culture in the society. Corruption includes abuse of authority, bribery and willful misconduct thereby it is of interest to the general public. It has main affects on administration and human rights and also deteriorates the economy, politics and moral ethics. Moreover, it can be an issue of concern by becoming widespread internationally. As global economy is rapidly developing these days, corruption has grown in different characteristics as organized crimes and also trans-nationally. As corruption is committed not only within one country but also in connection with foreign countries, anti-corruption cannot be done by a single country alone.
5. According to the Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Myanmar ranked 180th in 2011 but in 2015, Myanmar's rank became 147. Since the government is endeavoring to develop domestic businesses and also inviting foreign investments for the enhancement of the national economy, it is needed to improve the CPI ranking. Myanmar will be enhancing its cooperation in anti-corruption activities with countries within the region and with international organizations as well.
Formation of Action-Committee against Bribery
6. In order to eliminate bribery, the Action-Committee against Bribery was formed under the President Office Order 9/2013 dated 8th January 2013.
Acceptance of Complaints and tasking for Investigation
7. Corruption and bribery could be reported or filed or complained individually and by a group. After scrutinizing, complaints required to take departmental actions complaints were transferred to the departments concerned for further action and filed those where actions were not necessary to take. Complaints that needed to be taken action were submitted to higher authorities and investigated in accordance with law and also in cooperation with partnership organizations.
8. The complaints were preliminary scrutinized for accuracy and detailed investigation was made based on the findings. Legal action was made if necessary. Action would be taken for fraudulent complaint in accordance with existing law.
II. Endeavours to formulate a Modern Law
9. It is found that the Suppression of Corruption Act had only categories of criminal cases and taking actions and there was no relevance to international standard. Realizing that there is an urgent need for suppression of corruption in line with economic development of the nation, the Government decided to draft a law to be in line with international norms and standards with the following objectives:
- Clean government and good governance
- Prevention of corruption
- Procedures for public servants
- Cooperation with international community
- Technical assistance and information sharing.
10. With the aim to draft a law to be in line with international standards as prescribed in UNCAC, the Department of Special Investigation initially drafted the anti-corruption bill in 2005 and submitted to the Office of the Union Attorney-General through the Ministry of Home Affairs for legal remarks. The Anti-bribery Bill drafted by Hluttaw’s Bill Committee was submitted to the Hluttaw and publicized in the daily newspapers.
11. After Anti-bribery law was discussed thoroughly at the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, the Anti-Corruption Law was enacted on 7-8-2013 as Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 23/2013. It signed by the President on 17-9-2013. There are 11 Chapters and 73 Articles in the Law:
Chapter I : Title, Taking Action and Definitions
Chapter II : Purposes
Chapter III : Formation of Anti-bribery Commission and its duties and authorities
Chapter IV: Formation of Preliminary Scrutiny Team as regards money and assets derived from wealth accumulated by bribery and its duties
Chapter V : Formation of Investigation Team and its Duties.
Chapter VI : Formation of Anti-bribery Commission Office
Chapter VII : Providing Information on Bribery and supports from President, Chairman of PyithuHluttaw, Chairman of Amyotha Hluttaw and Representatives
Chapter VIII: Declaration of money ,assets , liabilities and prospective gains owned by authority
Chapter IX : Confiscation of wealth accumulated through Bribery
Chapter X : Offences and Penalties
Chapter XI : General Provisions
Formation of the Commission
12. In accordance with Articles 7, 9, and 10 of the Law, The Anti-corruption Commission (Previously named as the Anti- bribery Commission) has been formed with 15 members including the chairman and the secretary under the President's Office Order 6/2014 on 25-2-2014.