The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Annual Report presentation at the National Assembly (NA) took a detour as contents of the presentation became ready-arsenal for the Health Minister to dress-down the commission.
“Punish the guilty and free the innocents. Now it’s high-time. With the beginning there should be an end,” the health minister Lyonpo Zangley Dukpa said. “It is enough! For how long will we tolerate?”
Lyonpo Zangley said it’s been four years since ACC started off with their investigations and still it is without concrete conclusions.
Currently 25 cases were still under investigation as of March 2012. Some cases were stalled or pending due to other pressing cases, one of which included the bribery and fraud case in health procurement.
He said that Ministry of Health (MoH) has become a football ground for Royal Audit Authority (RAA) and ACC to play their match. One has to do their work but there is a way to work and we also have our work to do.
“In fact, our working environment is disturbed and many staffs resigned and some could resign soon,” said Lyonpo Zangley.
The Education Minister Thakur Singh Powdyel believes that the work of ACC is unfair.
“Crime and punishment do not match,” said the education minister describing ACC’s judgement.
Even as shortage of Doctors was a huge problem in the country, two more doctors had been suspended for fraud and bribery in health procurement.
“The Media’s interest also shows on such news and positive sides are never the interest of the Media. I beg you ACC not to give stress to the extent of bleeding,” said Lyonpo Zangley.
“There is no substitution either for those doctors, so we need to study the situation because people’s lives are at risk,” said the Phuentsholing MP with regard to the suspension of two doctors.
The Trashigang MP said the ACC report showed there are number of complaints since 2006. “ACC’s investigations which took longer periods would hamper people’s trust,” he said.
The ACC report meanwhile states in it that when there are important and hot pursuit case resources are redeployed.
“Cases vary in complexity and hence their duration. Investigation requires tireless tracing and careful examination of loads of varied information from multiple sources besides tracing of people,” states the ACC report.
Further, it is stressful and highly time-consuming, which is invariably aggravated by bureaucratic procedures in obtaining information and serious systemic problems of poor record-keeping and frequent absence of public servants from office without whom no one knows anything, stated the ACC report.
Time taken to respond to ACC’s enquiries by agencies significantly impact on the efficiency of investigation.
ACC received 456 complaints in 2011 as compared to 375 in 2010 and 512 in 2009.
About 64 cases have been successfully disposed-off, of the total cases of 113 investigated so far and averaging 10 cases annually. Out of the 15 cases of the reporting period, only 3 cases have been disposed-off, ACC report states.