Sunday, August 20, 2017

Judge wanted on bribery conviction

A mandalay  judge has become a fugitive after complaints about his graft-happy habits earned him an arrest warrant.

The Anti-Corruption Commission said associate judge U Htin Lin from Meiktila is wanted for a bribery-related case dating back to 2014. The judge went missing soon after charges were filed, and was later convicted, according to U Than Aung, a member of the Anti-Corruption Commission

“We found out that he took bribes. For that we planned to charge him in region hluttaw, but we still haven’t captured him so far,” U Than Aung said yesterday.

Associate judge U Htin Lin is accused of pocketing K100,000 from a client in a case at Mahlaing Court in 2014. Advocate Daw Nwe Mar Win has also been implicated in the same case, and was arrested and charged last year for violating section 56 of the corruption law, according to U Than Aung. The pair were convicted, U Htin Lin in absentia, and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the maximum penalty.

Police from Mahlaing Central Police Station confirmed they have issued an arrest warrant for the judge.

A report issued in December by the hluttaw’s Judicial and Legal Affairs Committee found major gaps in the judiciary, and especially called attention to the entrenched system of bribery. The report said there is a widespread perception that rule of law in Myanmar is weak, and that many citizens feel they lack security – in both social and business terms. The World Justice Project rated

Myanmar 91st – worst out of 102 countries in its annual Rule of Law Index last year.

A higher-grade pleader in Mandalay, U Zaw Win, is on trial for staging a one-man protest against rampant graft in the legal profession. At his trial hearings, he has provided numerous anecdotes of judges seeking payments in order to fund donations and gifts for district and region judges in an attempt to earn their favour. Lower-grade officials are often forced to solicit bribes he said because their salary is not enough to live on.

According to the Anti-Corruption Commission, the associate judge’s case is one of three corruption files opened in Meiktila. The other two involve a university rector charged with taking bribes from a construction company, and two lawyers charged with graft.

Translation by Khant Lin Oo