The commission celebrated its 9th foundation day yesterday
Corruption: Nine years ago, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) was established with four people under a royal decree. ACC chairperson Dasho Neten Zangmo and her three colleagues were not sure what they were supposed to do.
Today, the commission has come a long way and has 72 staff including a chairperson and two commissioners.
Celebrating nine years of their progress and achievements yesterday, Dasho Neten Zangmo said ACC’s biggest achievement was the change of people’s mind set and creating awareness on corruption. “We have come a long way and at the same time we have a long journey to go,” she told her employees.
Some government officials agree that ACC has done a commendable job without fear and favour. Many Bhutanese, especially those in the lower income group suggested that they need people like Dasho Neten to spearhead in curbing corruption in the country.
A Kuensel online poll on how effective the ACC was is combating corruption showed that out of 474 people who voted, 46 percent said satisfactory, 34 percent said it was effective while 91 or 19 percent voted poor.
As ACC celebrated its ninth foundation day yesterday, they also highlighted significant achievements made to date.
In June 2006, ACC initiated its first investigation on procurement in the college of natural resources in Lobesa and imposed administrative sanctions. After two months ACC also investigated illegal transfer of rural land in Gelephu where a district judge and bench clerk were involved. They were convicted and land restituted to the state.
In September 2006, ACC initiated investigation on urban land under Thimphu City Corporation. Officials were convicted and land restituted to the state and legitimate owners.
Major investigation in the Samtse mining industry got officials and businessmen convicted and millions of Ngultrums was restituted to the government exchequer.
In 2009, investigation into health procurement and referral of patients began and some health officials were brought to task. ACC also investigated a hydropower project involving Indian deputationists in March 2010 who were later convicted in the court.
In April 2011, ACC investigated road network project of Trongsa-Gelephu highway funded by ADB and convicted project officials for accepting bribe.
On the direction of the previous government, ACC investigated Gyalpoizhing land allotment case and prosecuted former speaker and former home minister along with 13 committee members in 2012.
ACC also investigated the Lhakhang Karpo reconstruction project and the case is now with the Office of the Attorney General. The highlights of the cases in 2014 were illegal transition of land involving former Chang Gup Naku and former land registration director Tshewang Gyeltshen. The investigation on alleged transaction of land is still on going. ACC is also preparing an investigation report on Gelephu Dunpa’s case.
ACC commissioner Kesang Jamtsho said the main challenge facing ACC today is the shortage of human resource. “That’s why ACC is able to take up only about 15 to 20 cases a year,” he told Kuensel.
By Rinzin Wangchuk