ACC restitutes Nu 28.96mn last year

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) restituted only Nu 28.96mn of the supposed total monetary restitution of Nu.186.93mn ordered by various courts last year, according to ACC annual report, 2018.

It includes restitution amount of Nu. 15.62mn related to judgments rendered and 15 decimal land.

Currently, the ACC’s total monetary restitution ordered by courts stands at Nu. 377.44mn and 81.92 acres of state land (excluding other physical properties).

More than half of the total restitution cases, amounting to Nu.174.30mn were involved in 37 fronting cases ordered by the trial court in Phuentsholing from 2017 and 2018.

It was found that tax evasion and illegal Indian rupee repatriation was the most common fronting practices amounting to Nu. 107.71mn followed by confiscation of auction proceeds, bank balance and cash seized during investigation (Nu. 56.02mn), confiscation of commissions (Nu. 10.01mn) and, fine imposed for illegal leasing of license (Nu. 0.56mn).

The commission still has a total monetary restitution pending of Nu. 187.96mn and 13 decimal land, excluding Nu. 117.82mn related to 25 cases under appeal in various courts.

The restitution for Gyelpozhing land allotment case is not included as it is yet to be completed in totality this year.

Last year, the commission charged 57 defendants for corruption and other criminal offenses of which 45 individuals were convicted with sentences ranging from one month to 41 years’ imprisonment term, 11 were acquitted and one deferred.

The conviction rate for the year stands at 80.4% excluding one deferred judgment.

The ACC saw 39 cases of which 20 were new cases and 19 carried over from the past. The commission has completed investigation of 27 cases, of which 18 were forwarded to the Office of Attorney General for prosecution achieving prosecution referral rate of 66.7%.

ACC was also engaged in prosecuting 12 cases, of which nine were related to embezzlement of Dessung training fund.

The commission received 333 complaints with an average of about 28 complaints per month last year that is 28 more complaints compared to 2017.

Most of the complaints were lodged through ACC webmail comprising 42.3% followed by 32.7% through post.

As in the past years, abuse of functions was alleged to be the major offence constituting 182 complaints and allegations on embezzlement were also substantial with 23 complaints.

There were comparatively less complaints related to bribery, conflict of interest, disproportionate asset, false claim and non-protection of public property and revenue and, grievances and complaints not related to corruption offences.

Majority of the allegations on abuse of functions were in the area of resources with 86 complaints, followed by contract and personnel with 24 complaints each.

Most of the allegations on abuse of functions in resources were against local governance, Dzongkhag administration and education ministry.

The year did not see any complaints alleging abuse of privileged information, money laundering and trading in influence.

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu