The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday reported that 37 public servants covered under Schedule I of the Asset Declaration Rule 2017 failed to file their annual asset deceleration for 2017 within the stipulated time period.

The annual asset declaration period starts from February 1 and ends on March 3.

While 30 of them filed their declaration by May 14 2018, seven were yet to do so even as of yesterday.

Among the seven are Khamdang-Ramjar MP from Tashiyangtse, Sonam Dondup Dorjee, Shompangkha MP from Sarpang, Rinzin Dorji, Lingzhi Drungkhag Drangpon, Ugyen Nima and Executive Director of Journalist Association of Bhutan, Needrup Zangpo.

ACC commissioner Jamtsho said that the officials would be penalised as per the asset declaration rules. He said that ACC would deal directly with persons covered under Schedule I, while those covered under Schedule II would be referred to respective agencies.

According to Rule 53 of the Asset Declaration Rules 2017, “If a covered person, without reasonable justification, fails to declare, he/she shall be levied a fine equivalent to one year’s national minimum wage for every day until such failure subsists.”

Also, Rule 54 states, “Those who file in the month of May shall be considered Late Declarants and those filing their asset from June 1 shall be considered as Non- Declarants.”

Schedule I covers officials of high public offices including Lopens of Zhung Dratsang, cabinet ministers, holders and members of the constitutional offices and gups.

For the reporting year 2017, there were a total of 672 covered public servants under Schedule I, including covered persons who vacated office/assumed new office.

ACC reports that 601 out of 635 persons filed their declarations online and the remaining 34 filed their declaration in hard copies.

Of the total covered persons, 635 have filed their declaration on time bringing the compliance rate to 94. 49 percent. Compared to 2016, the compliance rate has decreased by 1.84 percent.

The slight drop in the compliance rate, according to ACC, is due to high number of late declaration from gups.

Earlier, gups were covered under schedule II requiring them to file with their respective dzongkhags. However, with the revision of asset declaration rules in 2017, they are categorised under Schedule I requiring them to file directly with ACC.

MB Subba