No policy breached on import of second hand electric vehicles: PM
Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said the government has not breached any policies on import of second hand electric vehicles and has the right to sign memorandum of understandings with anybody when it comes to things that are good for Bhutan, during 16th meet the press last Thursday.
He was responding to the findings made by the Anti – Corruption Commission that the government has undermined provisions of the Constitution that provides fair market competition by signing memorandum of understanding with Nissan Motors and Mahindra Reva.
In the annual report 2014, of the Anti Corruption Commission it is reported that “The Government signing MoUs with NISSAN Motor Co. Ltd. (Japan) and Mahindra Reva Eletric Vehicles Private Limited (India) has undermined provisions of the Constitution that provides for fair market competition and has given undue benefits to private interests of the two local dealers of NISSAN Motor Co. Ltd. (Japan) and Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Private Limited (India).”
ACC’s finding says the MoU signed with NISSAN Motor Co. Ltd. (Japan) contains the government’s National Action Plan for the government’s light vehicle fleet to be converted to Electric Vehicle (EV).
It also says the action plan include electric vehicles as taxi fleet and transportation for tourist. “The Government’s initiatives on the import of EVs in the country appear to unfairly benefit a select few.”
Lyonchhen citing Third Country Import Rules and Regulations 2001 said the rules put second hand vehicles as restricted item and not prohibited item. “This is a restricted item on which restrictions will apply based on policy. So the cabinet studied it and decided it is not prohibited.”
The Prime Minister also refuted ACC’s findings on PM receiving electric vehicles as gifts from car companies. “Gifts are not to me. The gifts, although they were directed to me, I did not accept and it has been transferred to the government.”
The report says that public official who can make decision or influ- ence decision made by others about the use of public money receives such gifts then the gifts may sway them to make decision in favor of the person of company that provides the gift. The commission suggested that in order to address the problem at source, gift giving and taking has to be discouraged especially when there is potential risk of either perceived or potential conflict of interest.
The Opposition party has urged the government to revoke the MoU”s signed with two companies.