Corruption charges hit police chiefs

Five police commanders in states and divisions around Burma have been sacked after corruption charges were levelled by a police intelligence unit.

The five, all the most senior-ranking police officials in their respective regions, had multiple charges brought against them. One of them, Ba Kyi from Magwe division, “was accused of around 100 charges”, some by his subordinates, a source close to the Burmese police told DVB.

“[Ba Kyi] was investigated by the Special Branch [Burmese intelligence] in Minbu town and later given early retirement,” said the source. “However, [authorities] decided to give him an army pension as he was originally an army major.”

It is believed that their status as former army personnel, and not experienced police, angered lower-ranking officers who then brought them up on the allegations.

The remaining four headed police units in Mon state, Pegu division and Kachin and Shan states. It is rumoured that Kachin state’s police commander was laid off without being granted a pension.

Poor salaries among public service workers has led to rampant, almost institutionalised, corruption in Burma. The meagre wages given to lower-ranking government officials, military and police often means they cannot survive without backhanders or some sort of side business, which is technically illegal but widely tolerated.

Indictments such as these against high-ranking officials are thus rare.

The international watchdog Transparency International awarded Burma the penultimate spot on its recent Corruption Perceptions Index, shared with Afghanistan.

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