With local governments getting 50 percent of the budget with the implementation of the block grant, they will see more financial responsibility in the 12th Plan.

Financial power comes with risks.

To sensitize local leaders on the ethics and integrity to curb corruption practices at a gewog level, the ACC in collaboration with the Department of Local Governance, organised a two-day thematic session on corruption and its risk management.

The local government is deemed to have recorded several corruption cases and alleged to be one of the most corrupted organisations even by ACC, according to the Trashigang Dzongkhag Tshogdu Thrizin (chairperson), Kinzang Dorji.

The chairperson who is the gup of Kanglung gewog said that it was disheartening to gups who have been working transparently for the gewog and its people.

Participants that included gups and gewog administrative officers from Trashigang and Trashiyangtse were also briefed on the several rules such as the asset deceleration rule, gift rule and conflict of interest management among others.

Officials from the commission said that considering the crucial role of local government leaders have in promoting good governance and preventing corruption, the session was provided to the local leaders on a priority basis.

Participants were allowed to identify potential corruption risks in the local governance functions, assess the risks and develop strategic measures to mitigate the risks identified.

Among the several potential corruption risks, areas such as procurement, construction, census and land survey were identified as priority areas by the participants.

ACC officials said that at the end of the session, participants are expected to develop a gewog organisational integrity plan based on the lessons learnt and risks identified.

The commission would then consolidate and review the draft action plan and share the final action plan with the gewog administration for implementation.

Trashiyangtse thrizin, Chosung Wangdi, said that although minor, corruption practices are existent in the eight gewogs of Trashiyangtse like in the rest of the country.

“Majority of the corruption practices have occurred mainly with regard to financial matters,” said the thrizin. “This can, however, be done away with if an individual is honest to himself and the organisation he works for.”

Chosung Wangdi said that for a corruption free environment, individuals needed to be sincere. “For this, we need to have a firm regulation governing the conduct of each official,” he said. “We have been lacking this.”

Gup Kinzang Dorji said that besides the communication gap between the gewog administration and the public, many consider that the administration of not being transparent especially when it comes to financial deliberations of the gewog affairs.

“For all I know, the gewog administration have been transparent with the public on all matters,” he said. “However, we can still do better to fight corruption.”

He said that declaration of conflict of interest if any during a tendering process would go a long way in curbing corruption. “Similarly, we need to have a committee to report to for the gifts the gewog officials receive from the public,” he added. “There are rules in place, we have to now implement and follow it.”

Meanwhile, ACC officials said that the seminar is being organised towards achieving the national objective of just, harmonious and sustainable society through enhanced decentralization, the theme for the 12th Plan.

Younten Tshedup  | Trashigang