Corruption News

Myanmar’s military junta levels corruption charges against official with Great Barrington ties | Southern Berkshires


Bo Bo Nge (copy)

Bo Bo Nge with his wife, Me Kyi, and son. Nge, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar, has strong ties in Great Barrington. The military junta has detained him for 15 months, and now he faces corruption charges that friends say are baseless.


GREAT BARRINGTON — A Burmese official with ties to the Berkshires is likely facing a long prison sentence, according to a family friend familiar with the situation.

Bo Bo Nge, 53, has been detained in that country by a military junta, which has now leveled corruption charges him.

Abby Pratt, a longtime friend of Nge’s, said she learned the news from the Myanmar press and other friends of Nge’s. The charges include the allegation that he did not collect taxes on donations to nonprofits from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.

While the charges are baseless, she said, they are likely to stick.

Bo Bo Nge and Abby Pratt (copy)

Abby Pratt, left, in Myanmar with Bo Bo Nge, right, in December 2017. 

“There’s no way [Nge] can prove that what they say he did, he didn’t do, because he didn’t do it,” she said of what she believes are false charges meant to keep him quiet, given how much he knew about financial malfeasance in government.

Pratt worries about his health — he has a heart condition — if sent to one of the county’s dangerous prisons. She said the detention facility where the junta has held him for 15 months is apparently somewhat better than where he is likely headed.

“You don’t get much food, no medical care, and you are in a filthy cell with other people,” Pratt said. “I’ve had a number of people describe that to me — it’s not pretty.”

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If found guilty, Nge could face a 15-year jail term, according to CNA, an English language news site that covers Asia.

When the new regime swept through the county last year and took power, Nge was the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar. He was detained with more than 100 other officials, including Aung San Suu Kyi, whose democracy party rose to power and sparked a military coup as the regime declared the election results a fraud.

A revolution is now underway against the junta, Pratt said.

Meanwhile, Nge’s wife and young son are living in a village and have either very little or no communication with him, she added.

With the help of friends including Pratt, a former Eagle reporter and editor who now lives in West Stockbridge, Nge came to Great Barrington two decades ago to work and study after spending more than four years in jail for his role in the 1988 student uprising.

He later worked at the American Institute for Economic Research, went on to receive graduate degrees and eventually returned to Myanmar as an economist.

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