The Opposition party said that given the scope and details of the Anti Corruption Commission’s (ACC) various observations the government should clarify its stand on the ACC’s observations.
The Opposition Leader (OL) Pema Gyamtsho said that though the issue had already been discussed in the Parliament the ACC’s report talks of various Constitutional breaches and so he said the government should clarify and respond to the ACC, accountability should be fixed and concrete measures like fines and penalties should be carried out.
Khar-Yurung MP Zangley Drukpa said that the Opposition was not questioning the merits and de-merits of having electric vehicles but the issue of conflict of interest. The MP pointed out that in the case of the Dagagpela road tendering case the ACC gave recommendations like retendering or re-evaluation and the government went for
retendering. He said similarly since the issue of conflict of interest came up there needs to be concrete recommendations and action on the issue. He said that the issue would be taken up in the future also.
He said that since the issue had come out in black and white the moral authority of the government to govern would be affected and so some action should be taken. The MP said it was also important for the ACC to clarify and as people might feel that the ACC is not taking action.
The OL also pointed out the Home Minister Lyonpo
Damcho Dorji’s remarks in Parliament as reported by a newspaper on the issue of governments giving bribes to governments. The Home Minister in a Facebook post recently denied making those specific remarks. He also pointed out the statement of the Home Minister on governments even being ready to kill people to achieve objectives.
The Opposition pointed out the issue was not if what happened to the cars but the very act of accepting an expensive gift which violated laws.
Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi said that earlier the PM in a banquet hall address had publicly said that he had asked the Tesla CEO to bring the free electric vehicle and that the CEO said he would bring it if the PM drove it.
Drametse-Ngatshang MP Ugyen Wangdi said that even if the companies wanted to gift the vehicles to promote it the right place would have been the vehicle dealers who could have kept cars so that potential customers could drive it before buying the electric cars.
The OL said that the Opposition was never against electric cars per say as it could have its uses in public transport etc but the issue was of conflict of interest and also of importing second hand cars into Bhutan which is not legal. He said it is not for the Opposition take the government to court on the issue but for various existing constitutional bodies like the ACC to investigate and take action.
Opposition MPs said that the ACC report itself said that the government’s MoUs favored only a few people.
Trashiyangtze MP Dubthob said that based on assurances from the government a few taxi drivers had bought second hand electric vehicles from Thunder motors and now they were facing problems. He said the government should take responsibility and clear the issue between the taxi drivers and the dealer.
Ugyen Wangdi said that E-taxis were supposed to go 175 km on one charge but it was found that they could go up to around 75 km. He said that the products should match what is given in the company prospectus.