The legal division of the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) has completed its investigation into the alleged administrative lapses by labour ministry’s director general Sherab Tenzin in the overseas employment programme.

However, the Commission said it would wait for the court judgment on the case to take action against the DG even though its investigation is completed. This was decided during the tenure of the second Commission.

The investigation was conducted following Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) recommendations to the labour ministry to take administrative actions on director general and assistant programme officer Ugyen Tashi.

The ministry shared ACC’s report to the Commission in February. However, Chapter 19 of the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulation (BCSR) 2018, states that the authority to impose a penalty on a civil servant shall be exercised by the respective authority.

Since the director general is in the executive position, as per the BCSR, only RCSC can investigate and take action on the director general and not the agency. 

Both minor and major penalty can be imposed on the EX1-EX3/ES1-ES3 level only by the RCSC while an agency can impose penalty on the civil servants from P1-04 level.

Labour minister Ugyen Dorji had said that the ministry has not taken any decision yet on the programme officer and that it is still waiting for RCSC’s decision since the charges against these officials are of similar manner.

However, ACC officials said that prosecution and administrative actions are issue based in this case and charges referred for prosecution are entirely different to what was recommended for administrative actions.

The ACC official said that the case was forwarded to RCSC for administrative lapses as per the ACC Act 2011 to take administrative action.

“RCSC would have to submit the action taken report to the ACC in a month. This is an issue of administrative lapses and does not have elements of corruption charges, which would be duly prosecuted by the office of the attorney general (OAG).”

ACC’s investigation found that the DG of employment and human resources department had allegedly solicited and accepted a favour from Manav Dhingra, head of operations for International Institute of Hospitality and Wellness Studies (IIWS) to set up tissue business for his son.

The programme officer Ugyen Tashi was found to have allegedly sought help from Manav and borrowed Nu 50,000 from him. However, he later claimed that he returned the watch and repaid the money.

The ACC, while forwarding the investigation report on the labour ministry’s alleged collusion and bribery of the overseas employment program in India, stated that the former minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, and the director general indulged in unethical practices that amount to corruption.

Meanwhile, the OAG is waiting for one of the statements from former labour minister’s niece to complete the review on whether the case merits prosecution.

The ACC has sought statement from the former minister’s niece who is in Japan and is yet to receive the statement, which would later be submitted to the OAG.

Yangchen C Rinzin