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The local government tops the corruption complaints

โ€ฆ๐‘ณ๐‘ฎ ๐’„๐’๐’๐’”๐’•๐’Š๐’•๐’–๐’•๐’†๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‰๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’†๐’”๐’• ๐’๐’–๐’Ž๐’ƒ๐’†๐’“ ๐’๐’‡ ๐’„๐’๐’Ž๐’‘๐’๐’‚๐’Š๐’๐’•๐’”, ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ 107

Sangay Dorji

According to the Good Governance Committee Review Report on Anti-Corruptionโ€™s Annual Report 2021โ€“2022, the local government accounted for the most complaints with 107, followed by ministries with 34 and Dzongkhag Administration with 24. Among the ministries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry received the most complaints, followed by the Ministries of Health and Information and Communication.

The ACC received 435 complaints in total throughout the reporting period, or around 36 complaints on average in a month. In 2021, there were 36 complaints per month on average, up from 25 in 2020.

Out of 435 complaints received, 32(7%) certified for investigation and 94(22%) were referred back to the concerned agencies. The number of complaints certified for the investigation is less than those certified in 2020, 9.3% to 7% in 2021. Moreover, from the total complaints received, only 261(60%) warranted further actions while 174 had been dropped. Of the 261 complaints, the highest was made against the Management of Resources (65) accompanied by complaints in opposition to the Award of public contracts (30) and Natural Resources with 29.

Kencho, a farmer of Mongar said that most of the corruption in Gewog is related to the procurement of material, as most of the material is of inferior quality and not reliable.

He said, โ€œFor example, during the construction of roads and irrigation channels, the materials are of inferior quality, and most of the work is either abandoned as incomplete or left as it is, but they report it to be complete or the materials quality as prescribed in the work-order.โ€

Most accusations against corruption charges involve abuse of functions, with 151, followed by embezzlement (23), bribery (13) and false claims (14).

According to Pema Choki, there is no transparency and accountability, which instills doubt in the general public. She further added that in order to address corruption among local government the concerned authority should have monthly auditing and holding transparency and accountability to the people.

The Good Governance Committee recommends measures for prevention of corruption:-

  1. An anti-corruption commission to strengthen more awareness and advocacy programs for the local government leaders owing to the highest levels of corruption, especially abuse of functions in the local government.
  2. The committee observed that the anti-corruption commission has recommended various ministries and agencies for adoption. Therefore, the Committee recommends the Anti-Corruption Commission submit a report to the Parliament on the follow-up actions taken by concerned agencies and ministries in the next reporting year.
  3. The Committee recommends that the concerned agency should submit a report to the Parliament on the implementation of the ACCโ€Ÿs recommendation on surface collection and dredging of river bed materials in the next session.
  4. The Committee recommends ACC to continue conducting system assessment like Youth Integrity Assessment, Social Accountability Assessment in the future.
  5. The Committee recommends ACC to coordinate with the law enforcement agencies regarding their security concerns.
    The Good Governance Committee expects that the proposed recommendations would enhance effective and efficient functioning of the Commission to achieve the Royal vision and National Key Result Area (NKRA) in the 12th Five Year Plan for further achievement of its vision to build a happy, harmonious and corruption free society.
    Bhutan is classified as the 25th least corrupt nation with a score of 68 in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2021, which was published on January 25, 2022 by Transparency International (TI). The score of 68 remained the same even though the rank dropped from 24th last year to 25th because of the decline in the accountability indexes, clean election index, media, political and public sector corruption and rule of law index.

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