Dirty Secrets #1: Corruption in award of military contract to Lt. Gen Soe Htut’s family business

July 29, 2020

A Ministry of Border Affairs construction contract for two-miles of road in the Pa’O Self-Administered Zone was awarded to H Double H Capital Co. Ltd. in the 2018-19 fiscal year. H Double H is a construction and engineering firm run by Lt. Gen Soe Htut's three sons, Min Than Htut, Si Thu Htut and Soe Min Htut. Justice For Myanmar sees the award as a deplorable conflict of interest and calls for the full disclosure of documents related to this and other military contracts.

The Ministry of Border Affairs is one of the three ministries under military authority and whose ministers are military appointees, along with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence. Lt. Gen Soe Htut is the current Home Affairs Minister and was chief of Military Security Affairs, the military’s intelligence apparatus, at the time the contract was awarded.

Public procurement is one of the areas of government most at risk of corruption. The Myanmar military has a long history of corruption, building wealth for military conglomerates and the private interests of generals through the abuse of government business.

According to Myanmar’s company registry, Lt. Gen Soe Htut’s sons also operate Cherry Chapter Myanmar Co. Ltd. and Strong Step Co. Ltd., private companies with a long list of principal activities that include: mining, oil and gas extraction, construction, tourism, logging, manufacturing, engineering, land, air and water transportation, wholesale and retail trade, warehousing, real estate, art, entertainment, social work and health. Lt. Gen Soe Htut was formerly Judge Advocate-General, before becoming chief of Military Security Affairs in 2016 and Minister for Home Affairs in 2020

Justice For Myanmar previously raised serious concerns about Lt. Gen Soe Htut’s appointment to the government body investigating the tragic Hpakant landslide on July 2, 2020, which killed at least 174 people.  

Lt. Gen Soe Htut is a major shareholder in Myanma Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL), which controls the largest number of jade licences.

See the Justice For Myanmar press release on Lt. Gen Soe Htut's conflict of interest in the Hpakant investigation here.

See details of the project on the Pa-O National Organisation website in Burmese here.