Activists threaten to expose mining bribery

The representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) said they would reveal government corruption in their next Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) report.

Speaking at the “The EITI and the Future of Myanmar’s Transition” event, CSO member Moe Moe Htun said: “Some mining companies have told us that they have to spend at least Ks20 million (US$15,000) to buy a licence. But the problem is the companies do not dare to reveal this in front of the government officials when the meeting is held among themselves, government and the CSOs. That’s the reason we were unable to reveal bribery cases in our first report. The government collects money through taxes too. We’ll definitely describe such cases in our next report.”

Moreover the mine tax monitoring body needed to be transparent since the accounts of mining tax from the regions and states were being settled altogether in Yangon, they said. These matters were important to include in the second report to the EITI commission, the CSO delegates added.

The majority of tax comes from Hpakant in Kachin State, the centre of the jade industry.

Dr Kyaw Thu, one of the CSO representatives, said: “I guess we may be able to reveal the corruption cases in the new government. This is a good prospect.”

Myanmar has submitted its first report which scrutinised US$3.1 billion in tax from oil, gas and gem sectors to the EITI commission on January 2. The country is striving to become a member of the EITI after becoming a candidate at the 27th EITI meeting.