.. Lyonpo says it is irresponsible use of social media

Staff Reporter 

After the debate on the transfer of Nu 19 million (M) from the General Reserve (GR) to five gewogs of Paro went viral, a Facebook account user posing as the finance minister tried to spread fake news yesterday.

“I will be resigning as Minister for Finance [sic], Bhutan should there be any issue related to sending money to my Paro gewogs,” the fake account post read.

Finance Minister Namgay Tshering was quick to take to his official Facebook page to clarify that it was a fake account and that he had no plans to resign. “The posts were made by an imposter account,” he posted.

The ruling party, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, also shared the finance minister’s clarification, asking netizens to be aware of fake accounts.

There are many social media accounts, most of which are believed to be used by people inclined towards certain political parties.

However, the finance minister said that he did not want to think about who was behind the fake account.

“This is an irresponsible use of social media,” Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, adding that the fake news had not affected him.

However, he added that the fake account user had misused his picture, and that the person could be traced and held accountable.

The issue of using funds from the GR, which has been highlighted in the annual audit report of the fiscal year 2020-21, has been one of the most discussed issues on social media.

A social media user said that having fake social media accounts had become part of ‘playing politics’. Some of the fake accounts and pages, he said, are actively writing about politics on social media.

A source said that many fake accounts have been created to criticise the elected government or politicians. “These include party workers, including candidates and elected representatives themselves.”

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has issued two press releases, one on the audit observation and the other on the finance minister’s clarification.

It has questioned the finance minister’s moral and legal rights to transfer the money to meet the capital expenditure of the gewogs in his dzongkhags.

The finance minister also has given several interviews to the media alleging the former prime minister, Dasho Tshering Tobgay, of using GR for unproductive purposes.

Lyonpo Namgay Tshering alleged that the former prime minister had diverted GR of about Nu 485,000 for his visits to Samtse as prime minister.

But the finance minister has said that such “technical adjustments” of the budget were allowed under the Public Finance Act and the Financial Rules and Regulation 2016.

The PDP stated that Paro gewogs, which also comprise the constituency of the Finance Minister, are the only gewogs of the 205 that have been the privileged beneficiaries of the GR fund.

It added that the GR “misuse” is a serious breach of good financial governance by the very authority who is the custodian of the nation’s financial asset and on whom the country has reposed its trust.