Govt. takes ACC seriously: PM

Lyonchoen provides examples to back up his claim

Meet the press: Amidst reports of complacency towards corruption, the prime minister, Tshering Tobgay, during the meet the press on Thursday clarified that the government had been taking ACC’s recommendations seriously and abiding by them.

Citing a few cases, lyonchoen said that the commission was invited to investigate if there was a case of conflict of interest in the import of second hand electric cars.  He also highlighted the advantages of the use of electric cars, stating that it benefits environment a lot. “We do use electricity and don’t import fuel. It’s simple as that. All said and done how much money has the government spent? We’ve spent zero. We haven’t bought any vehicles and we haven’t spent any money on this,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister also said that the work on the secondary highway between Dagapela and Dalbari had to be reevaluated and re-tendered, as suggested by the ACC.  This, he said, would incur a huge loss to the government, as the contractor had to be compensated.

“The ACC said that there was mis-procurement. We revoked and re-tendered,” he said.  He also said that the people would be upset with the decision, and that the government had to go through the whole process again.

He said this was an important point that the government takes the commission’s views very seriously.

The cabinet decided to terminate the work in December last year after the ACC wrote to the cabinet to redo the tendering process.  The commission had investigated the case after the lowest bidder, who was disqualified for failing to meet the requirements, complained to the ministry and later to the commission.

The prime minister also said that when the commission had sent foreign minister Lyonpo Rinzin Dorji’s case to the Office of Attorney General (OAG), the government decided that the attorney general (AG) should pursue the case independently.

“The government’s decision was that the AG must prosecute without consulting us, because we saw what happened earlier,” he said, referring to the Gyalpoizhing land case.  In the Gyalpoizhing case, he said the OAG didn’t prosecute those involved.

He described the government’s actions with respect to its policy on corruption as “good behaviour” that deserves to be included in the ACC’s annual report. “We told lyonpo Rinzin Dorji that he can’t continue in office and he submitted a leave of absence.”

“The precedence in the earlier government was that the minister continues (while the case goes on), but we chose a good practice,” the prime minister said. “

On the foreign minister’s case, lyonchoen said that, when lyonpo Rinzin Dorji started attending the court, the ACC reminded that the minister was still using his official vehicle. “He stopped using it.”

By MB Subba

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