Complaints on corruption lodged against local governments continue to be the highest according to the Anti-Corruption Commission’s 2016 Annual Report.
A total of 119 complaints constituting 33.8 per cent of the total complaints were received against local government in 2016. In 2015, 79 complaints were received against local government.
The ACC report states that with greater devolution of powers, responsibilities and resources to the local level from the central government, there can also be corresponding transfer of corruption opportunities.
Local Governments are therefore more susceptible to corruption as it is at the local level where citizens and public sector interact most regularly and directly. When corruption occurs locally, the impact on citizen’s lives can be the most damaging, with the poorest being hit the hardest.
Home Minister Lyonpo Dawa Gyaltshen said local governments are more prone to corruption because it is at a local level where people and public sector collaborate directly and there is also a lack of transparency and availability of public information and lack of cross training of staffs in corruption awareness ethics and integrity.
The director of the department of local government (DLG) said transparency, accountability and integrity must be put at the heart of local governance system to reduce corruption. “To sensitise and educate public and gewog officials on social accountability the department, the Royal Institute of Management (RIM) and ACC conducted advocacy programs covering 35 gewogs of Zhemgang, Sarpang and Samtse,” he said.
An official from DLG said that when a complaint is lodged, it should be qualified for investigation. “According to ACC report, there was mounting backlog of complaints qualified for investigation mainly due to human resource constraint and engagement in priority cases,” he said. “In the reporting year, ACC gave priority to these backlog complaints and implemented measures to resolve it.”
The ACC report also says that more than half of the complaints were from anonymous sources. For three consecutive years, the number of complaints from known sources has been declining and this trend may be largely due to the fear of reprisal.
The DLG director also said that no complaint was lodged against Legislature and MOFA because “they don’t have to deal with people”.