U Aung Kyi, the head of Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), has resigned his office four months before the termination of his term set in March 2021. His resignation letter, which the ACC reported was delivered in-person to President U Win Myint in mid-November, was accepted 1 December.
Reasons for Resignation
The public has praised the 74-year-old politician for the way he has managed several high-profile cases in Myanmar.
In his official Facebook account, which will be shut down, he wrote in a post that his decision to step down had been in the offing for more than a year, and he had been preparing to leave the office. He added that he now intends to focus on meditation.
His resignation comes a year after he and other members of the commission had revealed to the media that they had received threats regarding corruption cases.
Mr. Aung Kyi assumed office as the ACC chairman in November 2017 after serving as Myanmar’s minister of information from August 2012 to July 2014 under the military junta. Before that, he had occupied the office of the minister of labor from October 2007 to August 2012.
As the deputy minister of labor since November 2006, he was responsible for relations with the International Labor Organization and helped to establish a new system for reporting complaints of forced labor to the United Nations.
Following worldwide condemnation and increasing international pressure after the junta’s violent crackdown of anti-government protests in 2007, the retired major general was appointed as the junta’s official liaison officer to the then detained leader of the opposition and Myanmar’s democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi. His reputation as a skilled negotiator and an accessible diplomat earned him the role.
Achievements as ACC chairman
Perhaps due to his military career, Kyi’s chairmanship was criticized for its failure to oversight the country’s military. However, the prosecution of some powerful and influential government officials involved in corruption overshadowed the criticism and saw a rise in the public’s trust in the institution established to tackle corruption.
In a landmark case, the former chief minister of Tanintharyi Region Daw Lei Lei Maw was sentenced to prison for a term of 30 years for bribery. Her sentencing made her the most senior government official jailed under Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Law.
The ACC also found the director-general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Dr. Than Htut guilty of using his position to demand personal favors from a construction company that had been awarded a building tender at the FDA’s headquarters in the country’s capital Naypyidaw.
Another case handled by the commission involved the charging of Yangon Region’s former attorney general and five other officials with the intention of dropping the murder case of popular comedian Aung Yell Htwe by taking bribes.
As a result of these efforts, Transparency International reported that the ACC ranked first among the anti-corruption bodies of 17 countries in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of the highest trust of its citizens.