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Government rebukes attempt by ‘large media company’ to bribe official

A notice posted by the President's Office detailing an attempt by a "large media company" to bribe government officials. (President's Office / Facebook)

A “large media company” attempted to bribe a senior government official during last week’s Thingyan festivities, according to the President’s Office.

In a notice posted on Facebook today, the office revealed that an assistant to an unnamed official was handed a present from the company that he later realized contained 5 million kyat (US$4,250) in cash.

The incident occurred while the assistant was taking part in the Thingyan festivities in Naypyidaw on a stage operated by the media company. Although the company was not identified by name, it is widely understood to be Sky Net, which was the only media company that hosted a stage in the capital last week.

Sky Net is a satellite television provider owned by Shwe Thanlwin, a conglomerate founded by Kyaw Win. Under the former military junta and the administration of ex-President Thein Sein, Sky Net enjoyed monopoly control over the satellite broadcast market in Burma.

Under guidelines published by the new National League for Democracy-led government shortly after it assumed power earlier this month, no civil servant can accept a gift worth more than 25,000 kyat ($21).

The government said it would treat the incident as a “learning experience” and not press charges against the company.

It also said that the money would be donated to a fund to assist victims of this year’s severe drought.