Daw Lei Lei Maw, chief minister of Tanintharyi state and an NLD party member, was arrested on Sunday along with three directors of Global Grand Services (GGS), a power supply and construction company, on charges of corruption and bribery.
The chief minister, the highest-ranking government official from Myanmar’s southernmost state, has been charged under article 55 of the Anti-Corruption law for bribery and corruption, and faces up to 15 years in prison.
GGS managing director U Thein Htwe, director U Aung Myat and general manager U Thura Ohn are being charged with article 63 for conspiracy, which carries a potential prison term of 5 years.
Lei Lei Maw was officially relieved of her duties the following day, according to Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua.
In a statement released on their website, Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Commission laid out its case against Lei Lei Maw, arguing that she has abused her authority and conducted government business with the aim of benefitting herself, friends and family since 2016, shortly after she was elected to office.
In one instance, she allegedly allocated 400 million kyats ($263,000) to remove unwanted bushes outside the Dawei Airport without inviting tenders.
She also allegedly sold her house, currently valued at 32 million dollars ($21,000), for a whopping 200 million kyats ($131,000) to the GGS Company. The power supply firm then began receiving multiple contracts around the region, including electricity distribution, low-cost housing, and the construction of a fish market and a city hall.
Lei Lei Maw’s administration had been racked with protests in the months leading up to her arrest, calling for her removal from office over suspicions of corruption and poor management.
The arrest of the Thanintharyi chief minister is the latest in a series of ACC actions against high-ranked officials in Myanmar. In September, Yangon’s attorney general and five other court officials were accused of taking bribes to drop murder charges against the three primary suspects in the New Year’s Eve beating that claimed the life of comedian Aung Yell Htwe.