Nima Wangdi

Of the total irregularities amounting to Nu 4,979.098 million (M) from Annual Audit Report (AAR) 2010-2020, Nu 649.714M was resolved as of March 31 this year.

This is approximately 13.05 percent of the total irregularities according to the Public Accounts (PAC) Report, which was discussed yesterday at the joint sitting of the Parliament. The balance is Nu 4,329.384M that pertains to Hydropower Projects.

According to the report, a total of 304 cases, amounting to Nu 650.337M, were reported sub judice, of which 114 cases amounting to Nu183.20M are pending before the court.

Eight cases amounting to Nu 28.679M are under arbitration, 60 cases amounting to Nu 34.578M under Anti-Corruption Commission, and 122 cases amounting to Nu 403.880M are awaiting court judgment enforcement notice.

The report stated that under-reporting resolved audit issues with the AAR was found common due to poor coordination and communication between the RAA and the Auditees.

“A very little progress has been achieved in resolving irregularities from 2010-2015. Most of the cases pertained to lack of enforcement of judgement as the whereabout of defendants are not known, under appeal, or lack of serious follow-up on the part of agencies to enforce judgments,” the report stated and that such cases continue to be  reflected in the AAR every year. “This requires clear policy decision from RAA.”

PAC made three recommendations.

There is a need to strengthen follow-up procedures for unresolved irregularities between the RAA and auditees; need to review the non-enforcement cases with the relevant agencies and submit the list of pending cases to the enforcement unit, Royal Court of Justice; and RAA has to review and decide on the pending irregularities from 2010-2015 with the concerned agencies.

“The action-taken report may be reported to the PAC by end of September this year,” the recommendations stated.

During the discussion, Opposition Leader Dorji Wangdi said none of the irregularities from 2018-2020, which constitutes 91 percent, has been resolved.

Drametse-Ngatshang MP Ugyen Wangdi said that there is a need to look into why they have not been able to enforce court judgments and delay of arbitration. “If there is no hope of recovering them, the cases should be dropped so that they do not appear on the AAR every year.”

NC member Phuntsho Rapten, also PAC member, said the court judgments were not enforced due to lack of defendants’ whereabouts. “Some defendants are already serving their prison terms and their family members have had to sell their properties to pay back the money while others do not have anything through which the money could be recovered.”

Phuntsho Rapten said the committee would meet with the RAA after the session for clearer picture.

Trashigang’s NC member, Lhatu, said that since maximum amount of irregularities are within the ministries, ministers should render full cooperation to resolve the issue.