Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has almost completed its investigation into the Bhutan Film Association’s (BFA) executives and board directors for probable corruption associated with the 16th Bhutan National Film Awards held earlier this year.

An official said that the commission has found some grounds of malpractice in awarding the three Prime Minister’s Awards, which was worth Nu 1 million each.

It was learnt that the commission found no proof to show that the new criteria for the awards were endorsed.

The criteria were revised and there is no documentation to prove that all participants had endorsed it, unlike the usual practice. The commission is likely to ask the winners to return these three awards.

The director of the feature film, Tshorwa – The Inner Call, Karma Lhatrul Rinpoche wrote to the commission seeking an investigation into the likely corrupt practice after the film award ceremony in March this year.

Karma Lhatrul Rinpoche alleged that the BFA board had secretly changed the criteria for the awards in favour of a selected few with the introduction of the new Prime Minister’s Awards this year.

In the complaint letter to the ACC, the director alleged that films, which were directed and produced by some of the board members of the association, were recognised as the best films at the awards.

Serga Mathang and Hum Chewi Zamling, films that bagged the best and first runners-up in the best film category, winning the Prime Minister’s Awards, were the films produced and directed by BAF board directors.

The director alleged that the vice president of BAF and the winner of the best director award was the one who proposed and initiated the change in the criteria according to the minutes of the board meeting held on January 21.

After winning six awards, which included four major awards from seven, Tshorwa – The Inner Call was not even nominated for the best director award, the director alleged in his complaint to the ACC.

Meanwhile, in another case, the commission has forwarded the complaint on the election of the film association’s office bearers in September to the Civil Society Organisation (CSO) authority.

“The complaints were more of administrative in nature on the conduct of the election and we haven’t found any corrupt act,” the official said. “So we’ve sent it to the CSO authority for review and subsequent action.”

Tshering Palden