Judges sacked in corruption probe

Oct 15, 2009 (DVB), Two senior judges and one legal advisor in Burma's northeastern Shan state have been sacked after government officials accused them of corruption in a drugs trial, a court official said.

State judge Win Myint Oo was summoned to the capital Naypyidaw last month and dismissed. Another judge, Thawtar Min from Shan state's Taunggyi and legal advisor Bo Min Phyu, were also dismissed.

The three men had been involved in a trial in Taunggyi in June this year in which four individuals were charged in relation to a drugs seizure in Rangoon. The court acquitted three of the defendants, and passed a 20-year sentence on the final defendant.

A court official speaking under condition of anonymity said however that the three men escaped conviction because of a 100 million kyat ($US100,000) bribe paid to the judges and the state military commander by the owner of a local mattress shop, Chit Kabar.

The wife of Taunggyi-based military commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Maung Maung Myint, was found dead in August after apparently committing suicide. Her death came shortly after she was questioned by the government's Bureau of Special Investigation (BSI), which is investigating the corruption allegations.

Local residents in Taunggyi said that she was suspected of playing a key role in persuading judges to take the bribe.

The mattress-shop owner, Khin Win, is being charged for her involvement in case and is being interrogated by the BSI, according to the court source, who added that more people were under investigation.

"Police chief Hla Htut and a deputy chief of the [Taunggyi] Special Narcotic Taskforce have been sacked and they are now under detention where they are being interrogated," he said.

The three men previously aquitted by the court have reportedly been rearrested and are to face trial alongside Khin Win.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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