Cabinet asks ACC to investigate corruption charges against PM

The Cabinet submitted a letter to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on March 16 on the instruction of the Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay to investigate charges of corruption against him concerning the building of a compound wall and security facilities at his private residence in Taba after he was accused by the Opposition party.

This is the second time the PM has requested ACC to investigate the case.

Asked if ACC can accept the case, ACC Commissioner Jamtsho said that it is the Constitutional responsibility of each and every Bhutanese to uphold the rule of law and report any act of corruption.

“The Anti-Corruption Act of Bhutan does not bar any person from filing a complaint to the ACC. Once the complaint is received and registered in the complaint management system, the system in place will take the matter to a logical conclusion,” he said.

Sources told Business Bhutan that the compound wall and water supply infrastructure was built on the insistence of the Royal Bhutan Police on grounds of security.

The Royal Audit Authority’s (RAA) observation on this was not a corruption charge but a recommendation.

The RAA mentioned that the development of the security-related infrastructure in the private residential building at the cost of the government exchequer was not within the ambit of budgetary program and activities.

During the Meet the Press last month, the PM said that he had voluntarily reimbursed the amount though the RAA had not asked him to do so.

The issue has sparked off a debate in social media with a commenter questioning that if the PM claims to be clean and honest, why did he allow the building of a security system at his place on government’s resources?

Another commentator also said that if the PM wants to be investigated for the case, he should resign from his post so that a fair investigation can be conducted.

An amount of around Nu 3mn was incurred to construct security facilities at the PM’s private residence which the Opposition party, last month, described as a serious form of corruption that needed to be investigated.

The works included construction of a guard house, a compound wall, electrification works, works related to water supply, and additional works such as wire mesh fencing construction of an electric sliding gate, and carving and painting works.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu