National Council’s (NC) recommendation to develop an integrated IT-based information sharing system to address corruption in the country comes at the right time. Lack of such a facility or system has cost the nation dearly as instances of corruption continue to unfold.
If stakeholders like financial institutions and land commission can make financial and land transaction information available to Anti-corruption Commission (ACC), corrupt practices could be vastly prevented from taking roots. Corruption cases have been dragging on in the courts unnecessarily. Strong, reliable and effective information sharing system, therefore, could be the most sensible beginning to address the rising instances of corruption in the country.
To a young democracy like ours, policy corruption is the biggest threat. For a small society that is just opening up to the rest of the world, so to speak, addressing corruption should not be all that challenging. Yet, we find increasingly threatened by instances of corruption across sectors.
The danger is that it could become endemic.
It is good news that NC has recommended ACC to identify potential areas of policy corruption and to suggest measures to prevent unwarranted practices from occurring. We hope that ACC will incorporate them earnestly. As NC’s deputy chairperson Tshering Dorji said, if adequate preventive measures are not taken from the beginning, it could pose a serious threat to the democratic institution, especially if policy corruption grows uncontrollably.
As some members pointed out, civil service is one of the vulnerable areas where policy corruption can occur in a democracy. There is a risk of government nominating and appointing only those public servants who support them. When civil service is politicised, corruption could be rampant.
ACC deserves our appreciation for all the effort it has made so far to address corruption issues in the country. What it must work on, however, is in building an efficient system to limit corruption. That is precisely why there is a need for a strong, reliable and effective information sharing system. It is important that stakeholders give ACC access to property, financial and all other records that it may need.
ACC alone cannot address corruption root and branch. It will need the support of all relevant agencies.