Myanmar ministry investigated for spending $347,000 last year to polish parliament’s doors

Myanmar’s parliament compound in Naypyidaw. Photo: Coconuts Yangon

Myanmar lawmakers have investigated a ministry department for circumventing rules, allowing it to spend K470 million (US$347,000) on polishing teak doors on parliament buildings during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

According to a spokesman for the Lower House, the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development under the Ministry of Construction is responsible for the maintenance of parliament buildings and the presidential residence. Parliamentary regulations require construction and maintenance work expected to cost more than K10 million ($7,500) to be put out to tender to the private sector. However, the department circumvented the regulation by splitting up the polishing work into several projects valued at K10 million each.

The department appears to have been exploiting the above-market rates that parliament is required to pay for maintenance work.

To prevent this from happening again, the parliament’s Rights Committee, which oversees maintenance expenditures, has said it will require the budgets for all maintenance work to be submitted for approval.

The full findings of the parliamentary probe into the financial trickery of the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development have been submitted to the speakers but not released to the public.

However, according to lawmaker Aung Thaik, the damage did not end there. He told the Irrawaddy: “You can check the polished doors at the Upper House. You can see that they are badly polished.”

 

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