While the first was found guilty of a slew of charges, the latter has been indicted for dereliction of duty
Update: The principal of Ura middle secondary school (UMSS) Tshering Neema was transferred to Wangduecholing lower secondary school, after the dzongkhag administration found him guilty of illegal unauthorised expenditure, abuse of power, flagrant and wilful violation of rules and regulations on financial management and control.
The principal’s annual increment will also be withheld for three years, as per the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations (BCSR) 2012.
Clause 22.214.171.124 of the rule states that a major penalty shall consist of withholding of annual increment for a period of three to five years under administrative action of chapter 19.
Asked if transferring to Wangduecholing was a punishment, the deputy chief education officer, Lham Dorji, said it was the ministry’s decision to transfer the principal within the dzongkhag to keep him under close observation.
The whistleblower, teacher Karma Tenzin of UMSS, who lodged the complaint against his principal on corrupt practices to Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has been transferred to Zhemgang. The teacher has also been reprimanded for poor performance under administrative action. Karma Tenzin’s promotion will be withheld for next four years.
“The dzongkhag administration would also like to inform your good office that a warning letter each to Karma Tenzin and Tshering Neema has been issued,” the letter to MoE and ACC stated.
The dzongkhag took administrative actions against both the parties, keeping in mind the reiterated directives to dzongkhag from the ministry and ACC on the need to take effective and fair decisions.
The dzongkhag administration met on March 18 to decide administrative actions against Tshering Neema and Karma Tenzin, as per the letter from the MoE on February 24.
The letter stated that only three offences were serious, of the 13 allegations levelled against the principal.
The allegations include instructing the mess in-charge to prepare a fake bill worth Nu 12,000, engaging supporting staff and students in contract work during office hours, and providing rations from the students’ quota to carry out contract works.
Forging of fake cash hand receipt in an individual name of Gembo in Ura was the third offence.
Accordingly, the principal has been charged with incurring illegal and unauthorised expenditures including unjustified, irregular, excessive, unnecessary and extravagant expenses under the BCSR.
Tshering Neema was also charged for abuse of authority and position for engaging the students and supporting staff in personal and contract works during office hours.
For producing a bogus hand written cash receipt, the principal was charged under flagrant and willful violation of rules and regulations and laws on financial management and control.
No actions however were taken against the principal for use of corporal punishment on the students.
Karma Tenzin was also slapped with a warning letter for poor performance. Officiating dzongda, Sonam Tshering said that the teacher failed to neither meet the required number nor maintained proper lesson plans.
“We thought that was a serious lapse on the teacher’s part demanding immediate reprimand,” Sonam Tshering said.
The warning letter stated that a civil servant should maintain the highest standard of, amongst others, integrity, honesty, fortitude, selflessness, loyalty, right attitude and aptitude, patriotism and endeavour to maintain professional excellence in service of Tsawa-Sum.
The letter further stated that, while going through earlier records of the 2012 and 2013 performance evaluations, Karma Tenzin’s performance was outstanding, whereas that of 2014’s was poor and failing to perform with efficiency and competence.
“Therefore you’re reminded to improve your performance by carrying out responsibilities as bestowed upon by the school,” the letter warned.
The reinvestigation was conducted, following a directive from ACC, after media reported serious discrepancies in the dzongkhag’s initial investigation in October 2014.
While the initial investigation report cleared the principal of allegations, the reinvestigation unearthed contradictory findings, confirming most of the allegations to be true, finally leading to these actions from the ministry.
By Tempa Wangdi, Bumthang