The Chairperson of Royal Civil Service Commission, Dasho Karma Tshiteem said the commission is still carrying out its independent investigation into the alleged administrative lapses by labour ministry’s director general Sherab Tenzin in the overseas employment programme.

The investigation was conducted following Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) recommendations to the labour ministry to take administrative actions on director general and assistant programme officer Ugyen Tashi.

The ministry shared ACC’s report to the Commission last month.

However, Chapter 19 of the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulation (BCSR) 2018, states that the authority to impose a penalty on a civil servant shall be exercised by the respective authority.

Dasho Karma Tshiteem said that since the director general is in the executive position, as per the BCSR, there is a set of process that needs to be carried out and only RCSC can investigate and take action on the director general and not the agency.

Both minor and major penalty can be imposed on the EX1-EX3/ES1-ES3 level only by the RCSC while an agency can impose penalty on the civil servants from P1-04 level.

“The investigation will complete soon. The legal division is investigating and working on it and then we would take action,” he said.

Labour minister Ugyen Dorji said that since the charges against director general and assistant programme officer are the same, the ministry would wait for the RCSC’s action on the director general to take action against the assistant programme officer.

“Although the ministry’s human resource committee can take action, the ministry would wait for RCSC’s action for uniformity,” he said. “Then we would accordingly take action on the assistant programme officer.”

In calling for the cancellation of Bhutan Overseas Employment’s (BEO) trade license, the ACC has also asked the labour ministry to compel BEO to refund Nu 3.832 million it collected as translation fees from 511 students, who were sent to Japan.

ACC’s investigation found that the director general of department of employment and human resources allegedly solicited and accepted a favour from Manav Dhingra, head of operations for International Institute of Hospitality and Wellness Studies (IIWS) to set up tissue business for his son.

The programme officer Ugyen Tashi was found to have allegedly sought help from Manav and borrowed Nu 50,000 from him. However, he later claimed that he returned the watch and repaid the money.

The ACC, while forwarding the investigation report on the labour ministry’s alleged collusion and bribery of the overseas employment program in India, stated that the former minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, and the director general indulged in unethical practices that amount to corruption.

Yangchen C Rinzin