Sun, 03 Dec 2023

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar - Following recent investigations that have shaken the military and the country's business sector, Myanmar's junta chief, Gen Min Aung Hlaing, has fired one of his favorite minions for alleged corruption.

According to statements released by the junta over the past two days, Lt-Gen Moe Myint Tun, a military council member that seized power two and a half years ago, has been replaced as chair of many key economic supervisory bodies by Gen Mya Tun Oo.

Until recently, the 55-year-old was the chairman of the regime's Foreign Investment Commission, Foreign Exchange Supervisory Committee, and Central Committee on Ensuring the Smooth Flow of Trade and Goods. Mya Tun Oo, his replacement, is the transport and communications minister and one of the junta's five deputy prime ministers.

Moe Myint Tun has been under investigation since early September following the arrest of dozens of businesspeople accused of bribing him and his subordinate, Brig-Gen Yan Naung Soe, a joint secretary of the Central Committee on Ensuring the Smooth Flow of Trade and Goods. The committee primarily obtains US dollars for export and import licensing and other commercial transactions.

According to sources familiar with the investigations, including those close to the detained military officials and businessmen, the traders revealed their dealings with Moe Myint Tun while being questioned.

According to the sources, Deputy Commerce Minister Nyunt Aung was another junta official exposed during the investigation. Nyunt Aung was fired as director general of the Commerce Ministry's Department of Trade in 2016 for failing to investigate the illegal import of heavy machinery to Hpakant jade mines.

Moe Myint Tun, Yan Naung Soe, and Nyunt Aung are accused of making millions of dollars from dealings with fuel and cooking oil traders. According to a source, the governor of Myanmar's Central Bank (CBM) confirmed to the regime's investigators that Moe Myint Tun and his two associates also made millions by exploiting the massive disparity between the CBM's official exchange rate-just over 2,000 kyat per dollar-and the market rate during the kyat's sharp decline in value.

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