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Jailed Popular Mandalay Mayor Faces Fresh Corruption Charges

Mandalay Mayor Dr. Ye Lwin.

Myanmar’s regime filed a fresh corruption charge against ousted Mandalay’s municipal minister and mayor Dr. Ye Lwin less than a month before he completes his prison term, according to legal sources.

The 71-year-old was detained following the coup in February last year. In December, he was sentenced by a junta court to two years in jail under Article 505(b) of the Penal Code for inciting civil servants to join the civil disobedience movement.

A lawyer said: “I heard a corruption case has been filed against Dr. Ye Lwin. The case has not yet been brought to court. Normally corruption cases are heard at the regional high court. We don’t know why he was charged with corruption.”

Aungmyaythazan police declined to comment.

Dr. Ye Lwin was briefly detained following the coup and then resigned as mayor on February 5, 2021.

On February 8 his Facebook profile picture showed an anti-regime three-finger salute and the slogan “Together with the people”. He was detained and charged under 505(b) at Aungmyaythazan Township court 10 days later.

One of his lawyers said: “As the court ruled that his pre-trial detention would be deducted from his sentence, he was due to be released next month. But now he faces a corruption charge.”

In February he was taken from Obo Prison to hospital with gastrointestinal problems.

A Mandalay-based poet said: “When residents talk about the municipal authorities, Dr. Ye Lwin is always mentioned. Mandalay became a smart city during his five years as mayor. He listened to us and worked to develop the city. History will remember this injustice.”

The ophthalmologist is a respected figure in Mandalay. After the National League for Democracy’s 2015 general election victory, he was nominated by Mandalay Region chief minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung as the mayor and municipal minister for Myanmar’s second city.

He enjoys huge popularity among residents as the architect of Mandalay’s transformation into a smart city.

Under Dr. Ye Lwin’s leadership, Mandalay was ranked fifth in 2018 by CIO-Asia among the top 10 Southeast Asian cities in the process of becoming “smart cities”, based on data from the ASEAN Post, Economist Intelligence Unit, the network’s own project profiles and Govlnsider.

Mandalay also won the Smart City 2019 award from the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization, a federation of information and communications technology industry associations in Asia and Oceania.