New ACC office in Phuentsholing to tackle fronting among other ills

A Sa-Lang Tendrel (ground breaking ceremony) for the construction of Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) branch office in Phuentsholing was held on 31st January. The branch office of ACC in Phuentsholing is being constructed with various important objectives.

An official from ACC said that, Phuentsholing is not only a border town with a porous border but it is the main commercial hub of Bhutan where a majority of imports enter the country.

She said, “As a commercial hub, it is most vulnerable to corruption.” Citing an example she said, “Many say that, fronting in Phuentsholing is as old as the businesses. Therefore, all these demand frequent and continued presence of ACC, she added.

She also said that, the massive 2014-2015 investigation in Phuentsholing was not only resource intensive but also posed many logistic inconveniences in conducting the investigations. Initially, the ACC Office in Phuentsholing will act as a transit camp to facilitate ACC in conducting its business.

The ACC in the past also uncovered corruption among immigration officials in the border town.

“The facility will provide security for ACC officials and for the relevant documents and properties in the highly vulnerable gateway like Phuentsholing and reduce administrative burden and cost in the long run”, she added.

Further, she said that, “Most importantly, it will facilitate the ACC in Phuentsholing to be vigilant”, adding that, it will enhance timely accessibility to ACC by providing the much needed close-by space for complainants to report corruption incidents and allow ACC to act quickly.

For the construction of the building, the contract has been awarded to M/s Gyeldron Venture Builders of Phuentsholing as per the existing procurement rules and regulations. The estimated cost for the construction is Nu. 43.35 mn.

The construction is being funded by the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB). “The estimated project duration is 18 months and the tentative date of completion is July 6, 2019”, she said.

She said that, there is no specific Dzongkhag that will be covered by ACC brunch office in Phuentsholing, she said, adding that, it will depend on need and demand.

In time, she said that, “We will have to assess the need for regional offices across the country or for that matter, ACC offices in the Dzongkhags.”

In addition, the general management of complaints and cases and investigation will continue to be operated from the office in Thimphu but a Phuentsholing presence will give the ACC a major boost.

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