Ye Htut, Myanmar’s former information minister, took to Facebook on Sunday to dispel online rumors that Myanmar’s previous government has hidden a warehouse of luxury cars from the current government.
On Aug. 4, rumors began swirling on social media claiming that Myanmar’s previous government purchased several luxury cars, including Audi and Mercedes-Benz models, and has kept them hidden in a warehouse since its term ended in March 2016.
“I have heard the rumors online that Mercedes must be given to current ministers because they are becoming rusty. Another rumor says the Mercedes are being stored in a warehouse. These posts include photos and imply the previous government hid these cars without handing over to the new government,” Ye Htut wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 5.
His post went on to explain that the previous government, in which he also served as the spokesman for then-president Thein Sein, purchased several luxury cars to be used during the 2014 Asean Summit, which brought foreign leaders from around Southeast Asia and their entourages to Naypyidaw. After the summit, lawmakers asked government ministers whether they continued to use these cars. The ministers said they were not using the cars but that they were being maintained by the Central Equipment Statistics and Inspection Department, known as the ECC.
The ECC used to be under the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, but after the National League for Democracy took office and restructured the ministries, it fell under the Ministry of Planning and Finance.
“The ECC records every government-owned car. It has to be checked by the Office of Auditor-General. In the past, the ECC had to present reports on the cars to the government once a month,” Ye Htut wrote.
“When the new government took office, these cars were listed on the ministry transfer. They can still be used. The current government also knows this,” he said. “Under the current government, some cars are still being used for the international meetings. We have not hidden these cars in a warehouse without using them. The heads of administrative, legislative, and judicial sectors can use these cars if they receive permission from the current government,” he wrote.