A leaked document described by sources to DVB Burmese suggests that the junta has compiled a list of businesspeople, cronies, and others affiliated to the military that it has ruled are now subject to travel bans, blocking them from leaving the country and requiring them to reenter.
The list includes Max Zaw Zaw and U Tay Za, two of Burma’s richest and most high-profile individuals.
There are growing concerns among the upper echelons of Burma’s business community after a recent spate of arrests and interrogations of leading conglomerate heads.
The secret list was leaked by a source within the military regime and includes 27 names subject to the ban, along with the names of their spouses and children, and their addresses.
DVB Burmese highlights that it has not been able to confirm the authenticity of the list, but sources close to the business community said that there are concerns of a potential sea change in Naypyidaw, a rearranging of those holding the nation’s wealth on behalf of the military.
“They [businessmen] have been charged with corruption. I am not sure how many more will be detained. The rest of the business community is scared because they have arrested the most prominent businessmen first. Chit Khine was charged with corruption after he was arrested at the airport when he returned from abroad,” said a businessman close to Burma’s magnates.
The junta has arrested and detained several prominent business figures this year.
The infamous crony Khin Shwe and his son were arrested by the military and sent to Insein Prison in March and the energy, construction and banking magnate Chit Khine was a second major crony arrested by the junta while returning from abroad in April. Last week, Nang Lai Kham, the daughter of KBZ conglomerate chief Aung Ko Win and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Kanbawza Bank was questioned by military intelligence for two hours at Yangon International Airport before being allowed to leave for Bangkok.
An economic analyst, who wished to remain anonymous, told DVB that Burma’s overarching economic paradigm of cronyism was not ideal, but that getting rid of the strongly rooted practice was neither simple or, necessarily, desirable. Many of Burma’s richest individuals made alliances with the previous NLD administration, making joint ventures with leading multinational corporations for the common good of the country.
Despite this, much of the wealth of the group is derived from the extraction of resources from Burma’s ethnic regions, a process which facilitates some of the world’s worst human rights abuses.
“Cronies are not good for society, but they are the main pillars of the country. We had to encourage them to use their privileges not only for their own benefit but also for the good of the country. It is not good for the military to take these actions at this time when there is a political and economic crisis in the country,” the analyst said.
The leaked document lists the following moguls as being banned from leaving / or forced to reenter Burma:
- Khin Shwe (Zaykabar Company)
- Aung Ko Win (KBZ Bank Limited)
- Zaw Zaw (Max Myanmar)
- Tayza (Htoo Trading)
- Khin Maung Aye (CB Bank)
- Thein Wai (Yoma Bank)
- Zaw Win Shein (Aya Hintha/A Bank)
- Chit Khaing (MAB Bank)
- Maung Weik
- Kyaw Swar Myint (Gandaye/Business consultant)
- Zin Min Aung (PT Power)
- Shein Win (Tat Lann Company)
- Sai Myo Win (EFD)
- Kyaw Win (Shwe Than Lwin)
- Hla Myo (Aung Myin Thu)
- Nay Htet Thein Naing (Yo Yo Lay)
- Toe Naing Man (Than Lwin Education)
- Htay Aung (Orchid Hotel)
- Htay Myint (Yuzana)
- Michel Moe Myint (Moe Myint and Associates)
- Win Aung (Dagon International)
- Tint Tint Lwin (Tint Tint Company)
- San San Ye (Super One)
- Aik Htun (Shwe Taung)
- Myint Zaw (or) Hansan (Ngapali)
- Kyaw Win (Shwe Than Lwin Company)
- Win Win Tint (Ocean)
“It is not unreasonable for the junta to ban crony and military-backed businessmen from leaving the country. This is because even high-ranking officials, including administrators appointed by the military, are not safe anymore. It is possible they are getting a head start [to keep them in the country] because they fear a drain of wealth and talent. Cronies and other military-backed businessmen are a source of income for the junta — but it is also possible they are being kept inside for another reason,”
Seven people, including former ministers Win Khaing and Ohn Win and mogul Chit Khine have been arrested on corruption charges. The coup itself was in part sparked by the military’s allegations of corruption within the NLD administration — prominent amongst such allegations were irregularities over the production and sale of coal from the Tigyit power plant, a project tendered to businessmen by the NLD’s Ministry of Power and Energy.