All officials in the dzongkhag administration will have to declare the gifts they receive

Gift: Bumthang dzongkhag administration instituted a gift registration system from July 28 as agreed in the annual performance agreement (APA) it signed with the government.

Planning officer, Chedup Dorji said the gift registration was instituted as per APA to implement national integrity and anti-corruption strategy (NIAS), which is one of the success indicators of APA. NIAS is one of the mandatory success indicators aimed to curb corruption and promote integrity.

Every dzongkhag has agreed a timeline in APA by which gift registration is instituted. Bumthang’s timeline was this month.
The notification, which was put up on the dzongkhag administration’s notice board directs its civil servants and staff to declare gifts with the dzongkhag administration.

Personal assistant to dzongdag with whom the gift register is kept would enter the items and their specifications.

“Therefore, any staff or individual who receives gifts is required to declare it by registering in the gift register,” the notice stated.

Everyone in the dzongkhag administration, from the dzongdag to an office assistant must declare the gifts.

Chedup Dorji however also said that the administration would work out in future on which posts in lower rungs would actually need to declare the gifts and who else needn’t.

A dzongkhag gift registration form has been chalked out based on ACC’s gift restriction rule (GRR) 2009. The gift recipient must list the identity of the giver, occupation, date of acceptance, market value, reason of offer, personal or official, brief gift profile and its current disposal location.

But more needs to be done on gift registration since nothing is clear-cut on what sort of gifts can be accepted.

For instance, whether an offer of doma should be entered and whether the recipient could take the gifts after registration are yet to be explained.

“While those gifts received as official wouldn’t really be a problem, the administration doesn’t know if the ones received as personal could be taken by the recipients on registration,” Chedup Dorji said.

Trongsa has also asked its sector heads and gewogs to start maintaining gift registers during its recent coordination meeting.
“For local leaders, gewog administrative officers (GAO) have been asked to maintain the registers,” an official from Trongsa dzongkhag administration said.

GAO will also keep track of gifts offered to local leaders such as gups, mangmis, tshogpas and renewable natural resources extension agents.

The dzongkhag administrations would also have to work out what actions would entail to those who fail to declare their gifts.
No gifts have been registered so far in Bumthang’s register.

By Tempa Wangdi, Bumthang