Chief Minister’s Deputed Signer Manipulates Arakan State’s Affairs

Sittwe: A retired army officer who is deputed to sign on behalf of the Chief Minister of the Arakan State, U Hla Maung Tin, has been manipulating affairs of the state, this is concerning to the regional government, according to the senior officials of the government.

Sittwe tower

The person is known as the retired colonel U Zaw Thein who was recently appointed as the state administrator in Arakan State government.

“U Zaw Thein was a high profile officer of the military regime, and still remains in Arakan State government. He has the right to sign on behalf of the State Chief Minister U Hla Maung Tin because he has now been appointed as the general administrator of the state. He is now misusing his authority even above U Hla Maung Tin and manipulating all affairs of the state”, said a senior official of the government on condition of anonymity.

A minister in the government also said U Zaw Thein has meddled in every affair of the government and the members of the government including the Chief Minister U Hla Maung Tin. Members are unable to work out their procedures without his consent.

“U Zaw Thein is a retired officer of the military regime and he still has the power to turn upside-down our regional government. He doesn’t care for any of the ministers including the Chief Minister U Hla Maung Tin in our government. As he knows everything good or bad about Arakan State, even U Hla Maung Tin does not dare to do anything beyond him”, said the minister.

According to the sources, U Zaw Thein has engaged in a number of bribery cases and has sold a plot of public land in Sittwe, the capital in Arakan State, to a local businessman after registering the land under his wife’s name.

“Everyone in the government knows he is misusing his authority and no one dares to speak out about his misbehaviour and corruption. He has been involved in a number of bribery cases and even sold a plot of public land in Sittwe to a businessman after registering the land in his wife’s name”, said the senior officer.

He said the land is situated in No. 15, Kyepuntan Ward, Group (42), North Myoma Group in Sittwe and was sold to the businessman at the price of 20 million kyat.

U Zaw Thein is said to have controlled the permits for all trades and businesses in Arakan State and has been granting the permits after signing them on behalf of the state’s chief minister as well.

According to the local business sources, he is also extensively engaged with the smuggling rackets in the region, which include timber and cattle smuggling to neighbouring Bangladesh by taking bribes from the smugglers.