Burma’s Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has said that the government’s investigation into an alleged misappropriation of over 7 billion kyat (US$5 million) is political motivated against the party.
The funds were allegedly skimmed from Magwe regional government coffers during the previous tenure of the USDP.
Magwe Division Chief Minister Aung Moe Nyo on Tuesday told reporters that the President’s Office had ordered the USDP to return 7.4596 bn kyat in missing regional development funds, which it says was collected from local oil well operators by the previous administration led by former Chief Minister Phone Maw Shwe.
Aung Moe Nyo said the revenue was unaccounted for, and that a Ministry of Home Affairs’ Bureau of Special Investigation is probing the case. He further said that the USDP would face a lawsuit if it failed to return the missing funds.
USDP spokesperson Nandar Hla Myint accused the government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, of implicating the opposition party before seeking an explanation from Phone Maw Shwe.
“[Former Chief Minister] U Phone Maw Shwe had a mandate to manage regional development funds, so he may have allocated monies to projects,” he said. “The ruling government could easily have got a clear answer by simply asking him.”
The USDP spokesman added: “But as for implicating the USDP’s name because of what a regional chairman did in his capacity as a chief minister, we must view this as an attack with a political motive.”
He said the party denies misappropriating the development funds.
Incumbent Magwe Chief Minster Aung Moe Nyo said that over the last nine months, between June 2016 and March 2017, regional authorities had collected some 1.2 bn kyat in taxes from the same oil well operators.