New corruption cases have been opened against Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other former officials from her government, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar said yesterday.
The cases are the latest of a series brought against elected leader Suu Kyi, 75, who was overthrown by the army on February 1 in a coup that has plunged the Southeast Asian country into chaos.
The state newspaper quoted the Anti-Corruption Commission as saying the accusations related to the misuse of land for the charitable Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, which she chaired, as well as earlier accusations of accepting money and gold.
It said 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. So she was charged under Anti-Corruption Law section 55,” the paper said.
That law provides for up to 15 years in prison for those found guilty. The lead lawyer for Suu Kyi in several other cases said that as far as he was aware the corruption investigations were continuing and were not before any court.
He described the accusations as “absurd”.
“She might have defects but personal greed and corruption are not her traits. Those who accuse her of greed and corruption are spitting towards the sky,” Khin Maung Zaw said.
The Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, over which Suu Kyi is accused, was set up in the name of her late mother to help develop education, health and welfare in Myanmar.
Cases Suu Kyi already faced ranged from the illegal possession of walkie-talkie radios to breaking the Official Secrets Act. Her supporters say the cases are politically motivated.
The army overthrew Suu Kyi saying her party had cheated in November elections, an accusation rejected by the previous election commission and international monitors.
Since then, the army has failed to establish control.
It faces daily protests, strikes that have paralysed the economy by opponents of the junta, a rash of assassinations and bomb attacks and a resurgence of conflicts in Myanmar’s borderlands.
“There is an undeniable political background to keep her out of the scene of the country and to smear her prestige,” he said adding she could face long prison terms on the secrecy and corruption charges.
“That’s one of the reasons to charge her — to keep her out of the scene.”
Suu Kyi spent more than 15 years under house arrest during the previous military rule before her 2010 release.
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