The commission’s use of the police detention centre was a matter of particular concern

Assembly: Following concerns raised on the need to enhance Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) system of detention, the National Assembly yesterday resolved that the human rights committee    would review issues pertaining to the common detention centre.

Deliberating on the ACC report, members pointed out the need to address issues innocent people faced when detained by ACC for interrogation, which, they said, was an issue of human rights violation.

Khar-Yurung’s representative Zanglay Dukpa said ACC detained people for interrogation for a few days to weeks using the police detention cells.  Not all the people, who are detained, are guilty. “Whether guilty or not, one has to stay in the same detention cell with people who are arrested for various cases,” he said.

Zanglay Dukpa said that those, who had been detained, complained of the poor condition at the detention cells. “Besides, their image and reputation are also at stake in a small society like ours, even if they’re detained on suspicion,” he said. “This is also violation of human rights.”

Although ACC did that in line with their regulations, Zanglay Dukpa said a procedure for such detentions was required.

Other members also agreed the need to address the detention issue, which they said should be included as part of the National Assembly’s recommendation to the ACC.

With regard to manpower shortage that ACC is faced with, the house resolved that the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) and ACC should continue to work together to address the issue of human resource constraints.

Meanwhile, the house also resolved that the government should seek clarification from ACC on which provision of the Constitution it violated in its initiative to import electric vehicles.

The house also endorsed all the recommendations submitted by the good governance committee, which included the need to follow up on the need to obtain an interpretation of the word ‘independence’ from the Supreme Court. “The Parliament should seriously consider ACC’s independence and if not complete independent, then it should be at least granted full independence in respect to human resource needs,” the report states.

On the issue of independence and lack of manpower, most members said that the commission should sort the issue of manpower with RCSC while granting independence should be studied carefully.  Granting independence, according to some members, contravenes the Constitution and other laws, which needed to be looked into.  Some members also said that granting independence to ACC could set a precedence.

The Khameod-Lunana’s representative Pema Drukpa said the ACC has been given the authority to arrest and detain unlike in other countries.

Health minister Tandin Wangchuk also said Parliament must adopt a middle path in solving the issue of independence and manpower shortage. “The decision shouldn’t be taken in haste as it could have larger implications in future,” lyonpo said.

The good governance committee also recommended that the government create a mechanism for sharing information with ACC and agencies and that it should strengthen systems to promote transparency and accountability, prevent conflicts of interests, trading of privileged information and influence peddling.

To make investigation processes more effective and efficient, it has been recommended that the judiciary, the Office of the Attorney General and ACC should deliberate and agree upon a clear procedure.

With regard to minimising land fraud cases, the committee proposed that the National Land Commission establish maximum safeguards in land record keeping and management. “The normal system of transfers and staff might be more diligently implemented to minimise temptation towards corrupt practices along with RCSC’s human resource audit of civil service organisations,” the report states.

By Kinga Dema