ACC: The ACC received a total of 283 complaints – an average of 31 every month from April to December 2015.

According to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Report 2015, increase in the number of complaints could be due to the upcoming local government (LG) elections. Similar trend was observed between April 2011 and March 2012 in the lead up to the first LG elections.

Abuse of functions by public servants top the list of complaints – 45.6 percent of the total complaints. Allegations in this category pertain to public servants either performing or omitting to perform and act pointing to favoritism, nepotism or patronage in violation of laws. The allegations were also related to discharging functions to obtain advantage for themselves or for another person or entity.

Embezzlement – 20.8 percent – follows abuse of functions on the list of complaints. Complaints related to bribery stands at 2.5 percent.

The “others” category of complaints were either grievances or those that did not constitute corruption offence per se but were the means to corrupt acts such as deception, coercion, forgery and collusion.

Complaints lodged against local governments were the highest, comprising 27.9 percent. “With 205 gewogs, local governments are more susceptible to corruption as they interface directly with citizens for development programs and service delivery, and as more resources and authority have been decentralized over the years,” says the report.

In the period of nine months, 42 complaints qualified for investigation, 18 qualified for discreet inquiry and 151 were shared with agencies for either sensitisation or administrative inquiry. And 72 complaints were dropped.

More than half the complaints were related to administrative lapses that are not counted as criminal offence.

This, says ACC, calls for improvement in strategic and operational systems like human resource management, public procurement and finance, and service delivery. ACC has, thus, highlighted the need to improve transparency and accountability and strengthening of grievance mechanisms.

One of the recommendations is to institute whistle-blowing systems in public organisations.

About 31 percent of the complaints were either dropped or required additional information through discreet inquiry. According to the report, ACC needs to further enhance its public education programmes on corruption and offences.

Over the last ten years, the number of investigations conducted per year ranged from nine to 21 cases. This high variation is attributed to factors such as the complexity of cases and the availability of human resources.

On an average, ACC was able to assign 15 complaints per year for investigation. From the total of 677 complaints that qualified for investigation from 2006-2015, only 22 percent were assigned for investigation, indicating a backlog of 78 percent.

Last year, despite concentration of efforts and resources on investigations of cases in Phuentsholing, 11 cases were assigned for investigation, of which six have been investigated and referred to the Office of Attorney General (OAG). One was shared for systemic improvement.

Although the Phuentsholing case was assigned towards the end of 2014, the actual investigation began in 2015.

MB Subba