Aung San Suu Kyi faces fresh corruption charges in Myanmar as trial nears

The deposed leader is accused of misuse of land for a charity foundation, on top of accepting bribes of gold and cash

Myanmar’s deposed leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and other former officials from her government have been hit with fresh corruption charges, according to state-run media.

Citing the country’s anti-corruption commission, the state newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar said on Thursday that the accusations related to the misuse of land for the charitable Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, which Aung San Suu Kyi chaired.

They also related to earlier allegations by the former chief minister of the Yangon region that Aung San Suu Kyi illegally accepted $600,000 in cash from him along with around 11kg of gold.

The charges are the latest of a series brought against elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was overthrown by the army on 1 February in a coup that has plunged the south-east Asian country into chaos.

Two of Aung San Suu Kyi’s trials are due to start next week in Naypyidaw, the remote capital purpose-built by the military regime, hearing evidence from witnesses.

In Naypyidaw, the remote capital purpose built by the previous military regime, her trial will start on Monday on charges of violating restrictions during last year’s election campaign and possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies.

The Global New Light said case files had been opened against Aung San Suu Kyi and several other officials at police stations on Wednesday.

“She was found guilty of committing corruption using her rank. So she was charged under anti-corruption law, section 55,” the paper said. The law provides for up to 15 years in prison for those found guilty.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers were not immediately available for comment.

Aung San Suu Kyi already faced charges ranging from the illegal possession of walkie-talkie radios to breaking the Official Secrets Act. Her supporters say the cases are politically motivated.

The army overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi under the ppretext that her party had cheated in November elections, an accusation rejected by the previous election commission and international monitors.

Since then, the army has failed to establish control. It faces daily protests, strikes that have paralysed the economy, a rash of assassinations and bomb attacks, and a resurgence of conflicts in Myanmar’s borderlands.


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