Corruption is still rife in the civil service, President U Thein Sein has reminded his cabinet colleagues during a regular meeting of senior government ministers at the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw last week.

The president said he wanted to maintain momentum in fighting corruption for the remainder of his term.

“It is necessary to change many things, even the mindset of civil servants,” U Thein Sein said, urging the cabinet to step up its action to end bribery and corruption over the coming year.

Good governance has been a prominent theme of the president’s term, and earlier this year parliament passed an Anti-Corruption Law and formed the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The committee, formed in January 2013, is chaired by Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Kham, with U Hla Tun, director general of the President’s Office, as secretary and other union ministers as members. But the committee has yet to publish any of its reports.

And critics have questioned the effectiveness of another body, the 15-member Anti-Bribery Commission, headed by U May Win and comprising retired senior government officials.

“We have no power to take action, just analyse complaints,” U Thinn Maung, head of the commission’s information team, told The Myanmar Times on August 21.

The law requires the commission to receive complaints relating to bribery and corruption from the president, the two speakers of parliament and from citizens. The commission appears to be largely clerical, simply passing along complaints to other officials, rather than acting on cases of suspected bribery.

Most of the 400 complaints the commission has received from the public as of the end of July relate to land-grab issues, said U Thinn Maung. But he did not elaborate on the commission’s activities.

Neither the President nor the speakers have referred any complaints to the commission, said U Thinn Maung.

U Thein Nyunt, Pyithu Hluttaw representative for Thingangyun township, Yangon Region, said that he had questioned anti-corruption activities, but had not received any clarifications.

“I have asked many questions about corruption cases in parliament, but no government body has given me a satisfactory answer,” he said.

“I have asked about the activities of the anti-bribery commission because it is the focal point for corruption issues. I hope the commission will explain its activities in parliament. If the law doesn’t allow them to combat corruption effectively, we should try to amend the law.”

Link: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/11447-president-wants-civil-service-to-change-mind-set-over-corruption.html