Corruption surges at departments

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Nay Pyi Taw, 17 October

Cash bribery has been most prevalent in township-level departmental offices under the military council, followed by presenting gifts, according to the ISP-Myanmar report released on October 15.

A study conducted by ISP-Myanmar, a research organization, shows that bribery occurs in township-level offices in 70 to 107 out of 110 townships.

The study showed that people pay gold as a bribe to township court officials in nine townships in May, eight townships in June, and nine townships in July.

Administration offices in some townships – in six townships in May, two townships in June, and four townships in July – were the second most likely to accept gold. Tax offices are the third most likely to receive gold.

The findings of the ISP-Myanmar reveal petty corruption among civil servants. However, the bribe payments contain gold and should not be regarded as trivial. It is possible that policy-level corruption exists at higher levels of administration.

The cases of Lieutenant General Moe Myint Tun and Brigadier General Yan Naung Soe, who were recently sentenced to 20 years in prison, the equivalent of life imprisonment, may be a good example.

According to academic studies, there will be deeper corruption if there is a “monopoly of power” and “discretion of officials” while there is no “accountability.”

Political analyst U Than Soe Naing said, “There is bribery and corruption in every office of the military council. Nothing can be done unless the police force in charge of the investigation is bribed. There are many incidents in people’s lives that show that if there is no bribery, nothing will be done.”

Following the coup, check-and-balance mechanisms are dysfunctional, as no parliamentary representatives question public services, and there is a very limited and risky role for activists and the media, according to the study.

On the other hand, civil servants’ salaries rarely increase in accordance with rapidly rising inflation and commodity prices.

The ISP-Myanmar stated that due to inflation and high foreign exchange rate, civil officials’ spending power is declining, hence bribery occurs among them to compensate for their falling standard of living through corruption.

News-Than Lwin Times

Photo-MOI

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