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The corrupt culture must stop

The news that 91 individuals were found to have been involved in fraudulent practices in relation to issuance of driving licences reflects professionalism, the lack of it rather, in the very officials from whom we expect the highest moral and professional standards.

It appears that a syndicate of a sort was let to grow to suck on the resources of the nation and the people. Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) investigation report is with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). For the sake of trust in the system, the guilty must not go scot-free.

This is not the first time. Just recently, we had officials manipulating vehicle registration book and issuing more books than vehicles purchased. The RAA is pointing out a lot of lapses and leakage in revenue related to vehicle registration or renewal.

At a time when increasing vehicle import is choking the Bhutanese roads and deaths due to vehicle accidents are rising by the day, such irresponsibility from the officials who are mandated with ensuring safety is criminal.

According to the ACC, the police personnel and RSTA officials had issued ordinary driving license (ODL), professional driving licenses (PDL), and changed vehicle ownerships without fulfilling due processes. They were accused of accepting bribes and of and fraudulent practises. They had also upgraded PDL to a higher drive-type without following due procedures.

This is the snapshot of the deliberate lapse. On June 1, 2018, two RSTA officials had signed documents and approved the issuance of ODL to a woman who did not even sit for the driving test. On June 18, in the same year, two officials had approved ODL to another individual in Thimphu. An official had approved a PDL and two officials in Tsimasham and Gedu approved an ODL to an individual.

Such illegal acts could have occurred only due to exhortation, negligence, or ‘planned intention’, according to ACC. There is scarcely any reason to doubt the commission’s assessment.

Millions of ngultrums are made from such fraudulent practices. ACC’s charges include passive bribery to public servant, forgery, participation in offence, passive commercial bribery, abuse of function, solicitation and aiding and abetting to forgery among others.

What is deeply shocking is the fact that every section of our society is eaten up almost entirely by corruption. And that is sad. Sadder still is we know where it is coming from.

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