Three secretaries surrendered to RCSC for breach of civil service rules
The cabinet secretary Dasho Penden Wangchuk, economic affairs secretary Dasho Sonam Tshering and foreign secretary Yeshi Dorji was surrendered to the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) with immediate effect for RCSC’s action or until the completion of the Anti- Corruption Commissions’ ( ACC ) investigation.
The cabinet secretary had failed to keep the Prime Minister informed of the committee of secretary’s discussion and decisions. The Secretary of economic affairs has misused the institution of the Committee of Secretaries ( CoS) to raise, discuss and take action on allegations made on him by a foreign magazine. The secretary of foreign affairs has misrepresented the Royal Government by sending a formal letter to the Government of India without the approval of the foreign minister or
the prime minister.
According to the press release from the prime minister’s office the CoS had discussed the allegations of corruption made by ENERTIA, an Indian publication, on four consecutive meetings conducted between 2nd October and 27th November 2014. The proceedings and decisions of these meetings were not reported to the Prime Minister or any other Minister.
The CoS decided to request for the Government of India’s intervention in the allegations of corruption made by ENERTIA against a senior civil servant in Bhutan. A letter to this effect was sent on behalf of the Royal Government by the secretary of ministry of foreign affairs on 2nd December 2014 without consulting or informing the minister of foreign affairs. The content and language of the letter could have serious foreign policy implications. The office of the attorney general had advised raising the issue formally with the Government of India without the Royal Government first verifying the allegations and facts.
The Lhengye Zhungtshog learnt about the letter on 9th December by accident, one week after it had been sent, and almost 10 weeks after the CoS first decided to inform the Government of India.
In view of the above, the Lhengye Zhungtshog has noted that the CoS has exceeded its mandate by discussing issues outside the scope of its terms of reference, and has purposely withheld information, including important decisions, from the Government and that member of the CoS has breached important provisions of the Civil Service Act of Bhutan and the Bhutan Civil Service Rules governing the code of conduct of senior civil servants.
In view of the above, after extensive deliberation and careful consideration, the government has requested the Anti Corruption Commission to undertake an investigation on the allegations of corruption on the appointment of Bhu- tan Ventures Trading as agent for Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd, to discontinue the Committee of Secretaries with immediate effect till further notice. The Government shall establish a task force to review the functions of the CoS and recommend if and how the Committee needs to be reinstituted and to “surrender” the Cabinet Secretary, Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Secretary of Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The Committee of Secretaries ( CoS) is an important institutional arrangement established to enhance good governance and promote transparency, accountability, efficiency and professionalism. The CoS meets once every week to ensure that the executive functions of the Royal Government are implemented efficiently and effectively by coordinating government policies, programs and projects among the ministries.
The CoS, whose membership comprises of all the government secretaries and the cabinet secretary, functioned independently without any interference of the Lhengye Zhungtshog. The CoS enjoyed the complete trust and confidence of the Government and their considered views and recommendations were taken seriously by the Lhengye Zhungtshog.