According to the Anti-Corruption Commission’s Annual Report 2020-2021, a total of 451 complaints were received over the 18-month reporting period, from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2021.
In a given month, about 25 complaints were received on average, which is 24 percent less than in 2019.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, a series of lockdowns, and related limitations may be to blame for the drop in the monthly average,” the report stated.
The report also stated that 241 of the 451 complaints received came from anonymous sources, while the remaining 210 came from known sources.
During the reporting period, the percentage of complaints from anonymous sources decreased, reversing a trend that had been expanding in recent years.
It said that the 451 complaints received in the reporting period were through the modes, like ACC Web, WhatsApp, WeChat, by post, walk-in and via telephone.
In terms of gender, of the 187 complaints from the known sources, excluding referrals from the agencies, 155 complaints were lodged by male complainants and 32 by female complainants.
Abuse of function, embezzlement, bribery, and resource management were among the most common complaints.
From the total of 451 complaints received, 42 qualified for investigation and 15 of those were agency referrals. The proportion of complaints qualified for investigation is slightly higher than those that qualified for investigation in 2018 and 2019.
As per the report, with regard to complaints against agencies, gewog administration constitutes the highest number of complaints followed by ministries and dzongkhag administrations.
Of the total complaints against gewog administrations, highest number of complaints was lodged against the gewogs in Paro, with 16 complaints.
With regard to the ministries, highest complaints were lodged against the MoAF with 17 followed by MoE with 8 complaints.
Further, among the dzongkhag administrations, Trashigang and Bumthang had the highest complaints with four each followed by Samtse with three. There were no complaints against the four dzongkhag administrations in the reporting period, of which Trongsa had maintained going without complaints for the second consecutive year.
ACC received the most complaints of incidence in Thimphu, as it has in previous years also. Lhuentse district received the fewest complaints.
Thimphu has highest number of complaints, due to the district having a large number of public institutions, population density and greater degree of economic activities, among others.
Correspondingly, further analysis reveals that maximum number of complaints against Thimphu pertained to ministries, corporations, Thimphu Thromde and autonomous agencies.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic during the reporting period, ACC continued to receive complaints that qualified for full-fledged investigation. In the last 18 months, ACC opened a total of 29 new cases adding to the 25 spillover cases brought forward from the previous reporting year.
In addition, anticipating prolonging of the restrictions of the pandemic situation that limits the field investigations, the ACC investigators were also assigned 35 backlog complaints qualified for investigation for desk review. Those complaints included mostly land related cases.
ACC completed 27 cases against the total caseload. Six cases were forwarded to OAG for prosecution, nine shared with the relevant agency for administrative action, and the remaining 12 cases were either closed or dropped in absence of any substantive evidence in relation to incriminating testimonies from the witness available.
Further, from the total of 35 backlog complaints assigned for desk review, five were completed.