Burmese junta gives its henchmen relief and reconstruction work

June 13th, 2008 - 3:29 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 13 (ANI): The ruling military junta parcelled out key sections of the affected Irrawaddy Delta to favoured tycoons and companies, including several facing sanctions from the US Treasury, just seven days after Cyclone Nargis devastated Burma.

According to a Burmese magazine with close ties to the government, some of the most notorious business executives in Burma, including Tay Za and Steven Law, also known as Tun Myint Naing, were given control of reconstruction and relief in critical townships, under the leadership of top generals.

US Treasury identified Tay Za as a regime henchman this year when it slapped economic sanctions on hotel enterprises and other businesses he owns.

More than 30 companies and 30 executives are to divide up the business in 11 townships in areas affected by Nargis, The Washington Post quoted the report, as saying.

The document in the magazine is dated May 9, a time when the United Nations, aid groups and many countries were pleading with the Burmese Government to allow access to affected areas in the aftermath of the storm, which killed as many as 130,000 people and left 2.5 million without homes.

Despite promises of greater openness, the Burmese rulers have continued to impose restrictions on aid relief, including new and onerous identification requirements for aid workers, according to reports from the region.

The document, which includes the cellphone numbers for many of the executives, was published in the Voice, a weekly journal published by Nay Win Maung.

BIT Team, a group of India-based Burmese who try to promote information technology in the country, provided a translation.

Nay Win Maung is a son of a military officer and was brought up among Burma’s military elites, giving him good connections to military insiders. His magazines can access government-related news and exclusive information.

The US Treasury has released detailed charts about the financial links among the junta and Tay Za, Law and related associates.

Tay Za, whose businesses include timber, palm oil and aviation, is said to be close to Senior General Than Shwe, the junta leader, in part because of his habit of hiring the children of powerful generals.

The Bangkok Post recently reported that though no public warnings were made about the approaching cyclone, air force fighters and private passenger planes from Bagan Air — believed to be a joint venture between Tay Za and Than Shwes family — were moved the evening before the storm from Rangoon airport to Mandalay, which was not in its path. (ANI)

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