Myanmar sets up anti-bribery body

YANGON - Myanmar President Thein Sein has set up an anti-bribery commission manned mostly by ex-military officers, reports said on Wednesday.

The commission has ex-general Mya Min as chairman, with ex-general Tin Oo as secretary, and 13 other members mostly with military backgrounds, The New Light of Myanmar reported.

Although the establishment of the commission was welcomed by observers, some expressed skepticism over the anti-corruption credentials of the commissioners.

Win Tin, a co-founder of the National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party, said he was doubtful that a commission headed by two ex-generals would be effective in tackling corruption in Myanmar, which was under military rule between 1962 to 2010.

"The commission should include those who are experts on the issue, who will act fairly," he said.

From 1988 to 2010, when Myanmar was under junta rule, reports of corruption and cronyism among top brass were rampant.

The country has been under a nominally elected government led by the pro-military Union and Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) since March, 2011, when President Thein Sein took office and started to implement a series of political and economic reforms.

"The Anti-Corruption Law was approved by parliament in July 2013, but there has been no action since that time," said Supreme Court lawyer Robert San Aung.

Under the current law, corruption carries a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment for politicians, and 10 years for government officials.

"I doubt the commission can do a lot, but it's better than not having commission," said Thein Nyunt, a member of parliament under the New National Democracy Party (NNDP).

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