An investigative report by Australia’s ABC news network has revealed that Adani Group has a $290 million commercial deal with a company controlled by Myanmar’s armed forces. Notably, UN investigators had accused Myanmar’s army of committing genocide and crime against humanity.
Based on a report published by human rights activists and lawyers, the investigation alleged that Adani Ports is developing a container port in Yangon in association with Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC)—a conglomerate funded by the military junta.
Last month, the US imposed economic sanctions on MEC after the military detained elected leaders and seized power in a coup. Notably, over 500 people have lost their lives who were protesting against the military’s coup to oust civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Adani is facing pressure from rights groups and advocacy bodies that have accused the conglomerate that it could be indirectly financing the Myanmar military to conduct international crimes, Quint reported.
Joint report by ACIJ and JFM
A joint report by the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and activist group Justice For Myanmar (JFM) claimed that Adani Ports is paying $52 million to MEC. Documents filed with Myanmar’s corporate regulator show Adani bringing in $141 million “capital in-cash” and $148 million “capital in-kind” for the project.
As per the documents, Adani Ports is paying $30 million to MEC as land lease fee and another $22 million as land clearance fee.
The co-author of the report and a human rights lawyer Rawan Arraf said that the documents were leaked from the Yangon Region Investment Commission after the violent military coup on February 1. The coup was perpetrated by senior general Hlaing.
Statement of report’s co-author
Rawan Arraf, in a statement to ABC, said, “What these documents reveal in particular is the amount that was provided to the MEC, a Myanmar military conglomerate that is controlled and owned by the Myanmar military [which] stands credibly accused and is being investigated at the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and even in the case of the crimes against the Rohingya genocide.”
“The concern here — as has been publicly stated by the United Nations fact-finding mission — is that these military conglomerates provide essential financial revenue streams directly to the Myanmar military,”
“Adani has been publicly put on notice several times, and they have refused to disengage from their Myanmar deal with MEC and that is a real problem. This money could be indirectly financing the Myanmar military to conduct international crimes,” Arraf added.
What Adani said
Following the coup in February, Adani Group denied that it had engaged with military leaders over the approval granted in 2019 for the $290 million port. “We categorically deny having engaged with the military leadership while receiving this approval or thereafter,” an Adani spokesperson was quoted as saying by ABC.
However, according to videos uploaded on YouTube by the Myanmar military as well as state media reports, Adani Ports CEO Karan Adani met top general Min Aung Hlaing in late July 2019.
Notably, Hlaing, who is accused of war crimes, can be seen exchanging gifts during a visit to Adani port at Gujarat’s Mundra. However, an Adani Ports spokesperson said that Hlaing’s visit was hosted by the Indian government and he was accompanied by government officials. The spokesperson also said that Mundra was only one location out of the multiple sites visited by the General.
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