DPT refunds the highest election expenditure

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) refunded the highest amount of Nu 81,861 as unspent fund during the general roundto the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB).

According to the report on state finance and elections returns of the National Assembly elections 2018,55 candidates returned a total amount of Nu 124,407to the ECB.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) refunded Nu 42,546.

Among the 55 candidates, Member of Parliament (MP) Karma Thinley from Wamrong Constituency of DPT refunded the highest amount of Nu 18,490 followed by MP Tshering Chhoden from Khar-Yurung constituency (Nu 12,820).

Of the 55 candidates refunded, 28 candidates from DNT and 27 candidates from DPT have refunded.

During the elections, each candidate was given Nu 150,000 as campaign fund.

However, there were no unspent funds during the primary round of elections. Besides state funding, the parties had incurred expenditures paid from the party’s own funds which were within the permissible activities and limits.

The report also states that for the primary round, around Nu 28.2mn was transferred to the election campaign bank account of the four political parties.

A total of Nu 29.88mn was spent in the primary round of elections and each party spent Nu 7mn on an average.

For the general elections, a total amount of Nu14.1mn was similarly disbursed to 94 candidates of the DNT and DPT in the 47 constituencies.

In the general round, DPT spent around Nu 6mn and DNT spent around Nu 7mn.

The overall expenditure incurred on campaign fund and sponsored activities for the primary round and the general election is Nu. 54.1mn.

The report states that political parties and candidates spent maximum campaign funds in hiring of vehicles, daily subsistence allowance (DSA) for candidates and their representatives and communications.

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) completed the audit of the election returns of the National Assembly elections on January 9, 2019. The observations and memos were forwarded to the political parties and candidates for their response and follow-up.

According to the RAA findings, 28 candidates had incurred inadmissible expenditures particularly on DSA and hiring payments.It also found out that Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party and DPT had not deducted TDS.

The ECB disqualified DPT candidate from Lamgong-Wangchang constituency, Paro,from contesting any future elections in the country for late submission of election returns.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu