The National Council (NC) deliberated on the Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2021 on 25 November, and will continue the discussions in the coming week.
Keeping up with His Majesty’s concerns about the proliferation and duplication of laws in the country, and the need to harmonize and consolidate these laws, expressed on 16 May 2014 during the Third session of the Second Parliament, the previous government had constituted the National Law Review Task Force.
Following the recommendation of the taskforce to harmonize the existing laws in line with Constitution and consolidation of several laws, the legislative committee, through its thorough review of the report, prioritized few laws and presented before the plenary stressing on its urgent need for the amendment.
The Bills were distributed amongst the relevant committees to further review and submit a report for deliberation. The Good Governance Committee reviewed the Anti-Corruption Act 2011, and submitted its report for deliberation in the House.
The Chairperson of the NC’s Good Governance Committee, Surjaman Thapa, said that the amendment came to National Assembly (NA) with over 50 sections, whereby, they have amended few of the sections, and it has been tabled in NC.
“We are accepting a few of the amendments made by NA, and we are further adding a few more sections, taking it to 61 sections that will be tabled. We have consulted the ACC, OAG and Good Governance Committee from NA while reviewing the Act,” he added.
He said that it is likely that a major amendment might be made to the Act, and some sections, like the HR independence in the ACC Commission, section on harmonizing between ACC and OAG, section of seized goods and section on prosecution between the ACC and OAG, will draw in debates in the House.
Check and balance at OAG, security of the staff in ACC, and what compensation needs to be given to an accused person(s) if not found guilty, are the other sections that will be discussed, he added.
“Every section which we are going to amend is equally important, but the very fact that there are some major sections that might provoke debate,” he added, and further said NC members will use wisdom to decide and pass the amendment.
The Bill was first tabled in NA during the Fifth Session of the Third Parliament.
The proposed amendment aim to ensure corruption is deterred in the society, and will also ensure effective and efficient functioning of ACC, in providing public services, and further enhancing the welfare of people, at large.