Former Myanmar PM loyalists face criminal charges

Associated Press

Yangon, January 17:

Myanmar’s military government has initiated criminal cases against several military intelligence officers who were detained after the ouster last year of former Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt, officials said.

Criminal charges concerning illegal economic activities, including illicit possession of foreign exchange, were filed against several officers earlier this month, officials familiar with the police investigation said yesterday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the officers, all of whom face multiple charges, would be tried at dates yet to be set. The number of officers involved was not clear.

Khin Nyunt was also chief of the military intelligence service, which served as his power base.

When he left the prime minister’s post last October, it was originally announced that he was retiring for health reasons. But leaders of the country’s ruling junta later accused him of insubordination and being responsible for a major corruption scandal involving his subordinates.

After Khin Nyunt’s sacking, about 26 intelligence officers were detained at Myanmar’s Insein prison and many of them had their assets frozen. Family sources said Khin Nyunt’s businessman son, Ye Naing Win, and another son, a military officer, were also detained.

Kin Nyunt is also under detention, although it is not known under what conditions.

The junta moved quickly to smash the power of the military intelligence service after Khin Nyunt’s fall, seizing or dismantling government agencies and commercial enterprises associated with it.

Deputy intelligence chief Maj Gen Kyaw Win, who survived the initial purge, as well as some 1,500 other intelligence officers, have been ordered to retire, and about 2,500 enlisted men from the intelligence wing were transferred to infantry units in December.

The 56-year-old military intelligence service was officially dismantled, with some of its responsibilities assumed by a new Office of Military Affairs Security.