The Anti-Corruption Commission in military-ruled Myanmar has found that deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi accepted bribes and misused her authority to gain advantageous terms in real estate deals, AP reported on Thursday, quoting local media.
The cases are the latest of a series brought against elected leader Suu Kyi, who was overthrown by the country’s army on February 1 in a coup that has plunged the southeast Asian country into chaos.
The state-run Global New Light newspaper reported that the accusations are related to the misuse of land for the charitable Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, which Suu Kyi chaired, as well as earlier accusations of accepting money and gold, according to Reuters. The report added that case files had been opened against Suu Kyi and several other officials from the capital Naypyidaw at police stations on Wednesday.
“She was found guilty of committing corruption using her rank,” according to the newspaper. “So she was charged under anti-corruption law section 55.”
The law provides for up to 15 years in prison for those found guilty. Suu Kyi could also be banned from running in the next election in the country, should there be one. The country’s military has claimed it will hold elections “within the next year or two”. However, there has been no official confirmation on the matter yet.
Since February’s coup Suu Kyi has already been charged with spreading information that could cause public alarm or unrest. She also faces two counts of violating the Natural Disaster Management Law for allegedly breaking Covid-19 pandemic restrictions during the 2020 election campaign, illegally importing walkie-talkies that were for her bodyguards’ use and unlicensed use of the radios, AP reported.
Another charge of breaching the Official Secrets Act, is being handled separately.
Suu Kyi’s supporters say all of the charges are politically motivated and an attempt to discredit her and legitimise the military’s seizure of power. Her lawyers have already denied the allegations.
The military coup in Myanmar followed the landslide victory of the National League for Democracy and Suu Kyi in the national elections in November last year, with the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party faring poorly in its key strongholds.
The country’s military refused to accept the government, citing unsubstantiated allegations of fraud. It was also announced that the coup was the result of the government’s failure to delay the November election despite the outbreak of the coronavirus.
However, General Min Aung Hlaing said on February 8 that “free and fair” elections will be held after the completion of the emergency period, and the military will hand over power to the winner.
Security forces in Myanmar have cracked down heavily on protesters agitating against the coup. In several instances of firing at protesters, hundreds of them have been killed, drawing criticism from the United Nations, governments of several countries and human rights groups.