Q&A: Your last thoughts as your tenure come to an end?
I am leaving behind an institution evolved in to supporting the constitutional democracy. When we look back, His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo was very clear in his command in December 2005, that we must prepare a visionary institution that will promote accountability and good governance in the country. This is what His Majesty desired and what we have worked for and this is what I am actually leaving behind.
How much has RAA achieved in fulfilling this mandate?
In the past, many scorned at RAA as one scary organisation. It was never looked at as a professional institution. I wanted to change the perception. In that aspect, today the RAA is invited to come and complete the accountability process because it is a constitutional organisation trying to complete accountability process.
In the accountability process, the parliamentarians allocate funds to the executive to deliver services to the citizens. What we look at is if what the executive or the government of the day has delivered the services as decided by the parliamentarians and at what cost. When we look at the accountability process and report back to the nation, for instance through our audit reports, is the process is established properly. It may not be the best of the things but at least we have set the trend. The accountability process is complete.
This is what His Majesty desired: this proper accountability process at least the process is set for years.
How far as the RAA come in preventing wastage and misuse of public funds?
We have tried our best in prevention of wastage and misuse of public funds. If you look at the trend, it shows that RAA has been exposing many instances of wastages, fraud and corruption. But it doesn’t mean we’ve not studied it, it doesn’t mean that our society has gone more corrupt than in the past. So this is one thing that everybody must understand. It may mean that RAA has been more active and has become more professional in exposing the issues of wastages, issues of fraud and corruption now than in the past.
RAA’s independence was questioned when some political candidates were given audit clearances. What happened?
If you re referring to former minister Nandalal Rai’s issue, we gave the clearance after all the issues were cleared or dropped. He was not issued an audit clearance until the issues were not cleared with us.
There was no political influence from anywhere in the case of Nandalal Rai or that of present foreign minister Rinzin Dorje. For that matter, the former Speaker and home minister didn’t have any issues with us in our report. I can stand trial on it if need be.
Today, the RAA has complete functional independence and no politicians have tried to influence us. This is something that I can say with conviction.
Which areas do you find the highest irregularities?
Obviously the construction industry including the projects. The reason being, our laws in the construction industry, particularly the contractual system is not very transparent and complete. There are many aspects, loopholes where people could take advantage starting from the process of preparing the documents in the construction industry to notification for tendering process to evaluation to awarding of the contract to actual execution of the contract to the bill payment.
How compliant have agencies been with audit memos and in the recovery of funds?
Over the years things have changed. As soon as we point out lapses, recoveries are being made. Unlike in the past, because of audit clearance there is a quick response but what is our ultimate objective. The ultimate objective of all these systems is to bring a proper accountability process and to avoid wastages, misuses, inefficiencies, and fraud and corruption. But people are still going on.
Issues are appearing repeatedly because our system has apathy towards this and that needs to be addressed. We’ve exposed people, named and shamed those involved in our annual reports. I thought it was helping but now it has become a usual thing.
What we need to do is look at owning the responsibility at various levels. If the employees of an organisation are not held accountable, society must hold the managers, and leaders accountable. Are we ready to do that? Is the society ready to move to that level?
RAA’s biggest achievement
To be honest, a lot of things have been done but the biggest achievement is the Druk Thuksey award for the institution. Collectively we have achieved it, what more do we need to achieve.