Report Submitted on Myanmar’s Gem Scandal

Naypyidaw: A team investigating the disappearance of nearly U.S. $100 million in funds belonging to a gem association has submitted its findings to Myanmar’s minister of natural resources and environmental conservation, the lead investigator said.

The team had investigated nine members of the gem association’s central committee, authorities from the Ministry of Mines, gem association chairman Yone Mu, and three others who had been accused of misappropriating money, said Win Htein, director general of the Department of Mines under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation and chairman of the investigative team.

“We investigated ministry staff, and the last investigation was done on June 6,” he said about the unpublished internal report submitted to Minister Ohn Win. “What we found is that this fund does not belong to the Myanmar Gems and Jewellery Entrepreneurs Association.”

“It is the central committee’s fund,” he said, in reference to the Myanmar Jade and Gems Emporium Central Committee, which consists of the chairman of the Myanmar Gems and Jewellery Entrepreneurs Association, 10 vice chairmen and secretaries.

The emporium is the country’s largest gem marketplace where local retailers and producers of finished products purchase millions of dollars of precious stones. Myanmar’s Ministry of Mines managed the central committee’s funds under the previous government.