No acts of cor­rup­tion – PM

Urg­ing the ACC to take up the in­ves­ti­ga­tion on the fis­cal in­cen­tive case se­ri­ously, Ly­onch­hen also re­quested the DPT to sup­port the ACC

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Pema Sel­don

The gov­ern­ment has in­vited the op­po­si­tion party to take them to court or to ask the An­tiCor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (ACC) for in­ves­ti­ga­tion if they find any acts of cor­rup­tion with the gov­ern­ment.

Re­spond­ing to al­le­ga­tions from Druk Phuen­sum Tshogpa (DPT) of po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tion on the fis­cal in­cen­tive case and cor­rupt prac­tices by the gov­ern­ment, Prime Min­is­ter Dasho Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay, in a press con­fer­ence this week, said DPT’s al­le­ga­tion of po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tion in al­leg­ing for­mer min­is­ter Yeshey Zimba of pol­icy cor­rup­tion un­der­mines the gov­ern­ment and the ACC.

Based on prima fa­cie ev­i­dence, Ly­onch­hen said the gov­ern­ment should have di­rected the At­tor­ney Gen­eral

to di­rectly file a case in the court of law against for­mer min­is­ter Yeshey Zimba for cor­rup­tion and resti­tu­tion of Nu 76.9mn, in­stead of the gov­ern­ment de­lib­er­ately choos­ing to send the case to ACC to rule out po­lit­i­cal mo­tive.

A press re­lease is­sued from the Prime Min­is­ter Of­fice stated that DPT has suc­cess­fully man­aged to lead sev­eral sec­tions of the so­ci­ety to be­lieve that the gov­ern­ment had raised the is­sued to gain po­lit­i­cal fa­vors.

“This is a dan­ger­ous prece­dence be­ing cre­ated by DPT as po­lit­i­cal par­ties or politi­cians would shy away from call­ing out the mis­deeds of the other for fear of be­ing ac­cused of be­ing ‘po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated’,” Ly­onch­hen said.

The gov­ern­ment has also called on the op­po­si­tion party to al­low the law to take its own course and not to con­fuse the gen­eral pub­lic by dis­tract­ing from the mat­ter at hand.

“The DPT must demon­strate it­self as a re­spon­si­ble po­lit­i­cal party and ac­tu­ally wel­come the ACC in­ves­ti­ga­tion, es­pe­cially if it is con­fi­dent that they have done no wrong,” states the press re­lease.

The gov­ern­ment fur­ther clar­i­fied that for­mer min­is­ter Yeshey Zimba won’t be able to con­test in the next elec­tions due to the age limit, and main­tained that re­quest­ing the ACC to in­ves­ti­gate Yeshey Zimba as such can­not be po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated

Ac­cord­ing to the PMO’s press re­lease, it is clear that the op­po­si­tion party is at­tempt­ing to com­pro­mise the rule of law by claim­ing that the gov­ern­ment’s ac­tions to fight cor­rup­tion are set­ting an un­healthy prece­dent, un­der­min­ing in­vestors’ con­fi­dence, cre­at­ing an at­mos­phere of so­cial dis­trust, dishar­mony and dis­unity and de­rail­ing demo­cratic process and po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity.

The op­po­si­tion party also claimed that the gov­ern­ment’s re­quest to in­ves­ti­gate for­mer min­is­ter Yeshey Zimba is an at­tempt to di­vert at­ten­tion away from its own fail­ure and plum­met­ing cred­i­bil­ity.

Re­spond­ing to DPT’s al­le­ga­tions of mis­man­age­ment of the econ­omy and very poor per­for­mance of the gov­ern­ment to he­li­copters, power tillers and cen­tral schools, the Prime Min­is­ter said it’s a des­per­ate at­tempt by the op­po­si­tion party to di­vert the at­ten­tion of the gen­eral pub­lic from a cor­rup­tion scan­dal.

Mean­while, in the press con­fer­ence held by DPT on Fe­bru­ary 7, DPT ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of wait­ing for over four and half years be­fore bring­ing up the fis­cal in­cen­tive case with the ACC.

Ly­onch­hen clar­i­fied that the pos­si­bil­ity of cor­rup­tion vis-à-vis fis­cal in­cen­tives was made known to the pub­lic in 2015 dur­ing the dis­cus­sion on “Tax ex­emp­tion of Books’. The fi­nance min­is­ter dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Au­gust 2015 pointed out that the for­mer DPT gov­ern­ment had granted ma­jor fis­cal in­cen­tives to ho­tels just be­fore the end of its term. The same is­sue was dis­cussed in the 10th Ses­sion of the 2nd Par­lia­ment

The Prime Min­is­ter also main­tained that the gov­ern­ment will not trade off with the op­po­si­tion party as they seem to in­di­cate.

“The threat that the op­po­si­tion party will take the gov­ern­ment to court on sev­eral maters if the in­ves­ti­ga­tion should per­sist is un­ac­cept­able,” Ly­onch­hen said.

He added that the gov­ern­ment is con­fi­dent that the ACC would take up the in­ves­ti­ga­tion se­ri­ously and also of­fered its sup­port in any­ways should the ACC re­quire.

“We would also like to re­quest the DPT to sup­port the ACC in ful­fill­ing its man­date,”Ly­onch­hen said.

Photo Cour­tesy - Thuk­ten Yeshi

The road just be­low reach­ing the BBS tower at San­gay­gang is strewn with house­hold waste and garbage. The mo­tor­way that at­tracts fit­ness fa­nat­ics and is also lovers’ lane af­ter dark is be­com­ing pop­u­lar among peo­ple to dump their house­hold waste.

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