No acts of corruption – PM

Urging the ACC to take up the investigation on the fiscal incentive case seriously, Lyonchhen also requested the DPT to support the ACC

The government has invited the opposition party to take them to court or to ask the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for investigation if they find any acts of corruption with the government.

Responding to allegations from Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) of political motivation on the fiscal incentive case and corrupt practices by the government, Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay, in a press conference this week, said DPT’s allegation of political motivation in alleging former minister Yeshey Zimba of policy corruption undermines the government and the ACC.

Based on prima facie evidence, Lyonchhen said the government should have directed the Attorney General to directly file a case in the court of law against former minister Yeshey Zimba for corruption and restitution of Nu 76.9mn, instead of the government deliberately choosing to send the case to ACC to rule out political motive.

A press release issued from the Prime Minister Office stated that DPT has successfully managed to lead several sections of the society to believe that the government had raised the issued to gain political favors.

“This is a dangerous precedence being created by DPT as political parties or politicians would shy away from calling out the misdeeds of the other for fear of being accused of being ‘politically motivated’,” Lyonchhen said.

The government has also called on the opposition party to allow the law to take its own course and not to confuse the general public by distracting from the matter at hand.

“The DPT must demonstrate itself as a responsible political party and actually welcome the ACC investigation, especially if it is confident that they have done no wrong,” states the press release.

The government further clarified that former minister Yeshey Zimba won’t be able to contest in the next elections due to the age limit, and maintained that requesting the ACC to investigate Yeshey Zimba as such cannot be politically motivated

According to the PMO’s press release, it is clear that the opposition party is attempting to compromise the rule of law by claiming that the government’s actions to fight corruption are setting an unhealthy precedent, undermining investors’ confidence, creating an atmosphere of social distrust, disharmony and disunity and derailing democratic process and political stability.

The opposition party also claimed that the government’s request to investigate former minister Yeshey Zimba is an attempt to divert attention away from its own failure and plummeting credibility.

Responding to DPT’s allegations of mismanagement of the economy and very poor performance of the government to helicopters, power tillers and central schools, the Prime Minister said it’s a desperate attempt by the opposition party to divert the attention of the general public from a corruption scandal.

Meanwhile, in the press conference held by DPT on February 7, DPT accused the government of waiting for over four and half years before bringing up the fiscal incentive case with the ACC.

Lyonchhen clarified that the possibility of corruption vis-à-vis fiscal incentives was made known to the public in 2015 during the discussion on “Tax exemption of Books’. The finance minister during a press conference in August 2015 pointed out that the former DPT government had granted major fiscal incentives to hotels just before the end of its term. The same issue was discussed in the 10th Session of the 2nd Parliament

The Prime Minister also maintained that the government will not trade off with the opposition party as they seem to indicate.

“The threat that the opposition party will take the government to court on several maters if the investigation should persist is unacceptable,” Lyonchhen said.

He added that the government is confident that the ACC would take up the investigation seriously and also offered its support in anyways should the ACC require.

“We would also like to request the DPT to support the ACC in fulfilling its mandate,”Lyonchhen said.

Pema Seldon from Thimphu