The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) will be closing the wall case of the former Prime Minister and current PDP President Dasho Tshering Tobgay.
Dasho Tshering Tobgay in his capacity as the Prime Minister had referred the matter to the ACC in March 2018 asking ACC to investigate his compound wall and security arrangement to establish whether or not there was corruption.
The ACC closed the case for three main reasons. The first is that the matter was not referred to it by the RAA which normally forwards any issue of corruption in its audit findings to the ACC.
Secondly when the ACC asked the RAA about the original audit finding, the RAA had replied that the matter is closed as the Prime Minister had refunded the wall amount.
The audit finding was in relation to an audit report that had to do with the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement.
The finding said, “The Department in consultation with the Ministry of Finance may comment on the course of action to be taken to dispose the cost of the infrastructure after the tenure of the Prime Minister”
The third issue is that the matter and process does not come in violation of any of the provisions of the Anti Corruption Act of Bhutan (ACAB) like bribery, corruption etc.
The issue first came up when the former Prime Minister asked the ACC to look into the fiscal incentives granted to the Le Meridien hotel in Thimphu.
The Opposition party DPT in a release pointed to the wall issue in February 2018 saying that public funds had been used to develop the PM’s residence.
The ex-PM in a rebuttal said that even though the RAA had not asked for a refund he had gone ahead and refunded around Nu 3 mn for the wall.
He had said that the Security Protocol 2014 had mandated the PM to stay outside the Lhengye Dhensa and the RBP in this regard had asked for the construction of a wall based on its security threat perception.
The former PM said that the RBP, instructed the Cabinet secretariat to arrange a secured compound wall and safe drinking water supply to the prime minister’s residence.
The former PM said that he initially turned it down but the Cabinet Secretariat had to agree after the insistence of the RBP.
The former PM also brought up the fact that even past Prime Ministers and ministers had availed similar security facilities and he called upon RAA to look into all of them including the taking of duty vehicles.
The current Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering moved into the Lhengye Dhensa breaking the precedent of previous Prime Ministers staying in their own residence.
However, since even ex-Prime Minister’s are mandated to get security after their term, the question of security facilities for PM (Dr) Lotay Tshering at his place of residence will arise after he completes his term in office.