ACC neck deep in backlog cases

Shortage of investigators is attributed for pending cases 

ACC: The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is overwhelmed with cases threatening the efficiency and reputation of the commission.

A total of 635 complaints qualified for investigation between 2006 to March 2015 but only 142 or one-fifth of them have been investigated. There is a backlog of 493 complaints because of shortage of personnel in the investigation department.

ACC Commissioner Jamtsho said the commission has no option but to pick cases on a priority basis. “With limited resources available, we pick up cases for investigation depending on a priority basis,” he said.

Compounded by a high attrition rate, he said the shortage of investigators was genuine. Last year, the attrition rate was 16 percent. Most of them resigned citing professional hazards.

Jamtsho said the ACC is also reviewing and taking stock of the backlog of cases that are awaiting investigation since 2006. Clearing the backlog will be possible only if additional investigators are recruited.

“We are working on how many additional investigators are required,” he said. He added ACC wants to recruit additional people, and a strategy has been worked out.

Jamtsho also said ACC is looking forward to signing a memorandum of understanding with the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC). The MoU is expected to give better leverage to recruit the required number of people.

“But we don’t know how fruitful the human resource plan will be,” he said.

Explaining the strategy, Jamtsho said ACC plans to hire people on contract from outside the RCSC.

In the last nine years, ACC has received over 4,000 claims of corruption, an average of 450 annually. During 2014 and the first three months of 2015, 47 cases qualified for investigation but only 13 were investigated.

In addition, ACC receives cases from the Royal Audit Authority (RAA), and so far the ACC has received 85 cases, an average of nine a year.

There are 87 employees, of which 43 are investigators. But only 37 investigators are currently working as six are on study leave.

The investigators receive salaries 45 percent over and above the salaries of other civil servants of similar grades. Staff not involved in investigation receive 20 percent more. However, the additional salaries have not been successful to meet the ACC’s human resource requirement.

On the possibility of delinking the ACC from the RCSC, he said the commission would respect Parliament’s decision. “There is not much we can do about this,” he said, adding that it is already an independent body by law.

Commissioner Jamtsho said that strengthening the human resources of ACC alone would not be enough without strengthening the government’s prosecuting arm, the Office of Attorney General (OAG).

The ACC is also taking stock of cases that were not prosecuted after being handed over to the OAG.

MB Subba

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