Lawsuit Against Officials Accused of Taking Farmers Compensation Resubmitted

Kyauk Pru: Local farmers from Kyaukpru in Arakan State have re-submitted their lawsuit against officials from the local land registration department, who allegedly took the compensation provided for farms that were confiscated in order to build the gas pipeline in their area. Their first lawsuit was dismissed.

They are five farmers from Kapaingchaung Village in Kyaukpru Township in the lawsuit, who were compensated by the pipeline company, along with 18 other farmers from other villages in the area for their lost lands on the 11th of October 2011.

“They are five farmers from Kapaingchaung Village and their names are U Kyaw Thein, Daw Marlar Yi, Daw Ma Kyaw Thein, Daw Khin Win Tin and Daw Ma Win Thu. U Kyaw Thein received Kyat 57 lakhs, Daw Marlar Yi Kyat 40 lakhs, Daw Ma Kyaw Thein Kyat 15 lakhs, Daw Khin Win Tin Kyat 12 lakhs and 54 thousands and Daw Ma Win Thu Kyat 35 lakhs respectively, when the company paid compensation to them and 18 other farmers from other villages”, said a local social activist helping with their lawsuit.

He said that the Assistant Director U Wai Ba San, the Grade-4 Land Surveyor U Moe Lin Tun of Kyaukpru Township Land Registration Directorate and the Administrator of Kapaingchaung Village U Soe Win and U Tun Win followed them and forced the farmers to give half of the money received in compensation to them while they were sitting aboard a motor-boat in Nga La Pwe Port waiting to leave for their village.

“The officials threatened the farmers saying that they would receive the remaining portions of the compensation due to be paid to them later by the company if they did not hand over their money bags. Then the officials took the amount they wanted from the bags.”

The officials were said to have taken 15 lakhs kyat from U Kyaw Thein, 15 lakhs kyat from Daw Ma Win Thu, 10 lakhs kyat from Daw Marlar Yi, 4 lakhs kyat from Daw Khin Win Tin and 5 lakhs kyat from Daw Ma Kyaw Thein, respectively.

According to him, after the farmers realised that their compensation money had been unfairly taken by the officials they complained to the township administrator and the township police station in order to get their money back from the officials. As the administrator and police station had neglected to look into the matter, U Kyaw Thein, Daw Ma Kyaw Thein, Daw Khin Win Tin and Daw Ma Thu Win filed their lawsuit against those officials with the township court on the 5th of December 2011. Daw Marlar Yi had submitted her lawsuit against them to the township court on 3 January 2012 as well.

The township court ordered the township police station to investigate the matter, however it finally dismissed all of the lawsuits against the officials on the 5th of May 2012 after police allegedly submitted fabricated reports after being bribed by the officials.

Dissatisfied with the dismissal of their lawsuits by the township court, the farmers have submitted lawsuits yet again to the district court. So far the court has not responded.