Thursday, 18 December 2014


Picture source: Google
Attitude of indifference-dangerous
“Break the Corruption Chain,” is this year’s theme for the International Corruption Day marked on December 9. The theme cannot be more appropriate because if the fight on corruption is to be won, there is a need to break the chain. Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) also declared December 10 to 17 as National Anti Corruption Week.

The last day of the weeklong commemoration fell on December 17, our National Day. The timing could not have been more appropriate because His Majesty’s this year’s National Day Speech carried a loud and clear message on corruption and the dangers of Bhutanese indifferent attitude towards corruptions.

This attitude is dangerous because corruption can then become deeply entrenched in the system and if it does, rooting out will require herculean task. It is important that corruption is not allowed to take root in the first place. With His Majesty, calling upon the nation to change our attitude, it is expected to give a shot in the arm on the fight against corruption.

 His Majesty’s speech also made one thing clear that there is no such thing as big and small corruption. His Majesty said that perpetrators must be dealt firmly no matter how high or powerful someone is. This dispels the notion of people who are beginning to think that it is only those ordinary citizens upon whom laws are applied while the rich and the powerful remain untouched.

 Anti Corruption Commission under its capable leader in Dasho Neten Zangmo is doing a commendable job despite challenges. Bhutanese must appreciate what ACC is doing and offer support to make our society free of this scourge of corruption.

Despite efforts of ACC and stringent laws, there is a feeling among general people that corruption is on the rise and in more sophisticated form. This is a cause of concern for all the right thinking people. The irony is that, some people in positions could be exploiting loopholes in the systems to carryout acts of corruption. And when such a thing takes place, it becomes all the more difficult to detect corruption. They do it by bending laws and hijacking the authority they wield.

Corruption could be taking place in various government agencies and organizations but, it is thought to be rampant in construction industry. Nepotism, cost escalations, additional works, pending bills, awarding works without bidding, limited inquiries, etc all provide rooms for corruption and people are thought to be exploiting these loopholes rampantly. Corruption could also be taking place many other areas and our indifferent attitude is allowing it to take different dimensions.

After a series of high profile corruption cases in the past, people now eagerly follow the Lhakhang Karpo corruption case. People heard of this case but after the indefinite lull in the talk, people thought the matter must have been closed until mainstream media wrote of the Office of Attorney General (OAG) preparing prosecution.

There was a similar case in Yongla Gonpa re-constructions which the ACC investigated and the OAG prosecuted some engineers. What was surprising was that, the guilty accepted the charges and agreed to repay the embezzled amount. He was back in his job and in same position. People still asks, how this is even possible.

In the corporate world, the recent deliberation in the National Council on exponential raise of salaries and Bhutanese individuals owning fleet of trucks for transportation under Indian registration are new dimensions of corruptions and these may just be the tip of an iceberg.

Misuse of professional and positional authority to carry out acts of nepotism, bypassing existing laws also happen potentially for unknown kickbacks. A mining can be in the guise of land development. Quarrying can be in the name of surface collection. Local concerns can be superseded, so on and so forth, the list can become long.

picture: Google
How do we deal with this kind of corruption? I am sure; people who misuse their authorities and indulge in corruption must have listened to what His Majesty said during the 107th National Day. Hello there, you on the cozy chair, His Majesty was speaking to people like you out there.

Finally, let’s all make this pledge not to be corrupt and also shed this attitude of indifference because we all care for our country. If we care, we must dare and because we care we should dare too.

Thank you.
Gyembo Namgyal
December 18, 2014

07:30 PM

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