… call to implement the resolution of the 8th session

Dechen Dolkar

Members of the National Assembly have said that there is a need for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) to proactively monitor during the elections to curb corruption.

The Chairperson of the Good Governance Committee (GGC), Member of Parliament (MP) and Khatoed-Laya MP, Tenzin presented the committee’s review report on the ACC Annual Report 2022-2023 to the National Assembly, yesterday.

During the deliberation, members raised concerns regarding the prevalence of corruption during national elections with some political parties already attempting to bribe voters. Some members said that ACC issuing integrity vetting certificates to candidates would help curb corrupt practices.

A resolution on this matter was passed during the 8th session of the National Assembly.

MP Tenzin said that in keeping with the resolution, the ACC has been working closely with the ECB to develop strategies for collaboration such as issuing integrity vetting certificate to aspiring candidates, conducting training on anti-corruption for civic and voter education framework of the ECB.

Bartsham Shongphu MP Passang Dorji (PhD), said that ACC officials mentioned that they closely monitor during the election period, however, they cannot deploy the officials.

Drametse-Ngatshang MP Ugyen Wangdi said that issuing the integrity certificate to the candidates alone would not serve the intended purposes. “In reality, the corrupt practices are often carried out by the party workers and coordinators.”

Mongar MP Karma Lhamo said that the corruption practices had already begun for the upcoming elections during the familiarisation tour and public consultation meetings by political parties.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Tenzin, said that when it comes to the involvement of the ACC officials during the election totally falls under the purview of the Election Act of Bhutan 2008.  “If the resolution can be passed to the ECB it could effectively be enforced.”

The committee also recommended that the RCSC should consider exempting the clustering of the expert group such as legal and ICT divisions of ACC to maintain the confidentiality of information and effective service delivery.

The committee recommended providing adequate budgetary support for the capacity building of the ACC officials given the high attrition rate in the ACC, which stood at 15.06 percent. More than 35 percent of the existing staff have less than two years of work experience.

The committee recommended ACC should recover the balance amount of more than Nu 1 billion for restitution since 2006 and submit an Action Taken Report to the Parliament reflecting the restitution amount from 2006 to 2023 in the next reporting year.

The House deliberated and endorsed the six recommendations made by the committee with all 39 members present voting in favour.