“No shying away from combating and eliminating corruption,” ACC Chairperson

20150731-907A7549-1Former RCSC commissioner Kinley Yangzom joins office today as the new ACC Chairperson. She shares her views with Kuensel on the responsibility of combating corruption in the country.

Excerpts

1. Everyone feels you got the hot seat. What is your opinion?

Being the Chairperson of ACC is definitely going to be a difficult job.  However, I feel most honoured to be considered worthy enough to be appointed in this important position and a privileged opportunity to serve the Tsawa-sum.  I and the ACC team with support and guidance will make every effort to do what we have to do to “prevent, detect, punish and root out corruption.”

2. The criticism against ACC was that it went after the “small fish” only. As a chairperson how would ACC function under your leadership? What would be your stand? 

There is no small or big corruption.  Corruption is corruption and irrespective of whether it’s big or small fish, due justice will have to be done.

Every individual Bhutanese must be responsible in fighting corruption and not remain complacent or detached from the problem.  Instead of leaving to the ACC alone, people must, as a duty, come forward with evidence so that the corrupt are brought to justice.

Equally important as investigation, are the public education and prevention of corruption strategies.

3. What is your immediate priority on assuming office?

As a priority, the new Commission must get to know ACC officers and staff, develop trust and confidence and work as a team. I say this because the earlier Commission has been in ACC since its inception in 2006.  With the change of guard, ACC officers and staff especially those who have worked with the first Commission for a long time, some as old as the Commission itself, may feel “unsettled and apprehensive” which is natural.

Continuity is important. Efforts of the predecessors and the ongoing programs and activities will continue and should not lose its momentum.

Only after the Commission is briefed and updated on the ACC’s current plans and programs; successes and failures; learn from the experiences of ACC in the last nine and half years and get feedback from stakeholders will the current Commission review and be confident about embarking on changes and initiatives for further enhancement to combat and ultimately root out corruption.  We will do what we have to do and must win the trust and confidence of the people.

4. ACC’s hands are full with one of the biggest investigations into corruption in Phuentsholing involving high-level officials and commercial entities. There is also a fraud and corruption case related to land in Thimphu. How prepared are you to take over these cases as the chairperson?

Yes, the Commission members are new and will need some time to be adequately inducted.  However, ACC’s strength as I see is its dedicated and capable professionals in the ACC with whom the Commission will work as a team.

There is no shying away from ACC’s core mandate of combating and eliminating corruption! Continuity is important and we will try not to lose the momentum, a concern of our predecessors.

5. Naming and shaming of corrupt individuals, including public servants, through media has been a strategy for the previous commission. Do you think there is a reason to continue?

Yes. Naming and shaming through media is not only a deterrence strategy, but it is also the right of the Bhutanese public to know the facts on the use of their resources.

Equally important is the protection of the innocent!

6. The former ACC chairperson was known for her openness, bluntness and being a tough lady. Do you feel the reputation of the first chairperson will be a challenge for you?

I feel there is only one “Dasho Neten Zangmo” and I will not attempt to be her.  The current Commission intends to continue with the good initiatives of Dasho Neten and her Commissioners while we chart our own path.

The earlier Commission and the current Commission share the same mandate and that’s what’s important.  How we fulfill the mandate … strategy and approach may differ.  The Commission will do whatever it takes to fulfill our sacred responsibility.

7. ACC has been fighting for independence granted by the Constitution. Having been in the RCSC do you think ACC can win on this front?

The ACC has submitted all the possible arguments on its independence.  RCSC similarly has justified its stand.  We will wait for the wisdom of the Parliament.

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