The mangmi and chiwog tshogpas of Phuntshothang gewog in Samdrupcholing dungkhag, Samdrupjongkhar have lodged a complaint against their gup for using the capacity development grant (CDG) without the gewog tshogde approval.

The complaint letter was lodged to the Department of Local Government (DLG), Royal Audit Authority (RAA) and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on April 22.

Nu 150,000 is granted to all the 205 gewogs for capacity development of local leaders.

Gups of the 11 gewogs are undergoing social accountability and good governance training from April 29 to May 3 in Nepal through the grant. The expenditure for the training is estimated at more than Nu 100,000 including tuition and accommodation among others.

Mangmis and tshogpas said that the grant should be used for trainings, meetings, enhancing the capacity of the elected representatives, awareness raising and improvement of systems and procedures among others after it is endorsed by the GT.

“It is only for capacity building activities only within the country,” the letter stated.

“We didn’t understand how the grant was approved for gup’s study tour to Nepal without routing through the GT. It’s public fund and it shouldn’t be used for an individual’s benefit.”

They alleged the gups for misuse of power and the public fund for personal benefit.

The letter alleged the gups of availing study tour twice within 10 months. “The gups have no authority or power to use the public fund alone. It will also affect the activities reflected in the Annual Performance Agreement (APA).

“We felt a level of corruption is high here as the grant was approved by gup alone. We also doubt if few gewog officials are also involved for endorsing the grant. Anything could happen with the gewog development grant (GDG) and other budgets if the practice continues,” the letter stated.

Phuntshothang chiwog tshogpa, Lungten Tshering, said they have no problem if the gup has routed through the GT.

“Since the grant is public fund, we felt that it’s a corrupt practice as it was used for gup’s own personal benefit and also violated the procedures,” he said.

The tshogpa claimed that the Gup didn’t inform the GT members during their weekly Friday meeting.

Mangmis and tshogpas said that CDG should be used focusing on enhancing the capacity of the elected representatives, civil servants, communities and others within the mandates of the local government (LG).

A tshogpa said that concerned authorities like DLG should look into the matters as none of the tshogpas and mangmis went to attend the trainings outside the country.

Lauri gewog mangmi, Tenzin, who is also the dzongkhag tshogdu deputy chairperson, said the grant is for all the gewog officials and not for an individual, adding that everyone in the gewog should get equal opportunities.

“Although the grant is new, we have rules and regulation for the utilisation of the fund. The gups didn’t discuss with the GT members,” he said.

Tenzin said that all the officials in the 11 gewogs were not aware about the gup’s study tour funded by the grant. “It is not fair that almost all the CDG have been used by the gup alone.”

Kelzang Wangchuk  | Samdrupjongkhar