The scale of Adani’s cooperation with the junta (military dictatorship in Myanmar) over a proposed container port in Yangon has been revealed through leaked documents.
A Myanmar military-controlled company that has just been slapped with sanctions by the United States over human rights violations is being paid by the Adani Group to the tune of $US52 million ($68.1 million), ABC news reported.
The scale of Adani’s cooperation with the junta (military dictatorship in Myanmar) over a proposed container port in Yangon has been revealed through leaked documents in a report by human rights lawyers and activists obtained by the ABC.
Contradicting the company’s claim last month that it had never “engaged with military leadership” in Myanmar, video and photos show Adani Ports’ boss met with the junta’s top general in 2019.
With the US government launching sanctions against Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), the move will mount pressure on the Australian government’s Future Fund to dump its $3.2 million investment in Adani Ports, which also owns North Queensland operations linked to the Carmichael mine.
Adani’s subsidiary is paying $US30 million to MEC in “land lease fees”, the leaked documents, from the Yangon Region Investment Commission, show.
Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and activist group Justice For Myanmar (JFM), in a joint report, said another $US22 million in “land clearance fees” is likely to also flow to MEC as the owner of the port site.
Rawan Arraf, the author of the report and human rights lawyer, said the documents were leaked “shortly after the violent February 1 coup perpetrated by senior general Min Aung Hlaing and his cartel of the Myanmar military”.
“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,” Ms Arraf told ABC news.
“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 direct to the Myanmar military,” she said.
“This money indirectly could be financing the Myanmar military to conduct international crimes.”
A member of a 2019 United Nations fact-finding mission to Myanmar, Australian lawyer Chris Sidoti told ABC news that the mission had warned foreign companies against doing business with MEC and named Adani Ports as one of those engaged with the military conglomerate.
The ACIJ and JFM report established links between the Myanmar military and a company “intimately involved in the Carmichael coal project in Queensland”, Mr Sidoti told ABC news.
“The question for Australia and Australians is whether we want to be hosting a company that is contributing to the enrichment of the Myanmar military,” he said.
“The question for investors in Adani is whether they want to fund the operations of the Myanmar military, because that is what they are doing indirectly by investing in Adani.”
The company was “watching the situation in Myanmar carefully and will engage with the relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice on the way forward”, a spokeswoman for Adani port was quoted as saying by ABC news.
She said the Yangon International Terminal project was “fully owned and developed by” the company.
“It is an independent container terminal with no joint venture partners.”
Earlier last month, after the military coup in neighbouring Myanmar, the Adani Group had issued a statement denying that it had engaged with military leaders over the 2019 approval of its $US290 million port.
“We categorically deny having engaged with military leadership while receiving this approval or thereafter,” it said.
However, in late July 2019, Adani Ports chief executive Karan Adani met with top general Min Aung Hlaing, an accused war criminal.
This was days after the US government hit Min Aung Hlaing with a travel ban over his alleged role in “extra-judicial killings” and “gross violations of human rights”.
Adani Ports chief executive Karan Adani exchanging gifts with the general on his visit to an Adani port at Mundra, in Gujarat, India was uploaded to the Myanmar military’s official YouTube channel.
An Adani Ports spokeswoman said the general’s visit was hosted by the Indian government, and its officials accompanied him to Mundra Port, which was “only one location out of multiple sites on this visit”.
“Mementos were exchanged as a cultural courtesy, which is customary practice,” the statement read.