The tragic case of Bhutan’s Uncivil Servants

The latest reports submitted by the Royal Audit Authority on glaring lapses of misuse of government funds and resources, laxity in implementation of public projects and numerous instances of corruption and profiteering is gut-wrenching.

And, the fact that these shortcomings and malfeasance is happening even after the RAA had issued memos and cautions earlier is very unbecoming of our public servants who are least bothered about wasting government resources, or is profiteering from projects that are supposed to benefit the lowest rungs of our communities – farmers – which is simply unacceptable.

The RAA says that based on the various audit observations made so far, it can be fairly concluded that there has been laxity on the part of the project and the dzongkhags in the implementation of the planned activities.

The Authority also reflected that it seems that progress of the various activities is measured based on the fund release and not on the actual implementation and their subsequent benefits to the farmer and the community at large ‘Many of the activities now remain complete only upon insistence from the audit team.

Why is this happening? What has become of our civil servants who always blurt out the Tsa-wa-sum allegiance and proudly pin our monarchs’ batches on their chests while doing just the opposite to what their majesties are propagating? What have become of our faithful and hard working civil servants?

The RAA report reveal that there were many cases of excess payments made to the third parties including some possible indications of fraud and corruption at the implementation level, and has also recommended disciplinary actions against those involved including seeking legal actions.

The audit of the Medical Store and Distribution Division (MSDD) in Phuentsholing that supplies medicines and equipment to 20 Dzongkhags also reported various irregularities, including employing several ghost workers to pocket away and siphon huge amount of state funds.

However, past instances reveal that the management lets go these fraudsters and corrupt individuals, and the matter put under the rug, despite knowing of their acts and shortcomings. These kind of culture, of not punishing the corrupt and guilty, will one day come back to haunt us and our children and Bhutan will never progress if corruptions were to take roots.

Like the RAA has stated, judging from the repeated nature of observations, it clearly indicates lack of determination and commitment on the part of the management of both the project and the dzongkhags in improving the system, thereby, letting these ill practices bloom unchecked.

Bhutan must draft harsher punishments and regulations to curb and bring these corrupt individuals to justice, because a nation that lets corruption thrive is a nation that will never ever prosper.

Like His Majesty said, we must have the Ngar to repel evil and reward the good. It is time we take these instances, like RAA reports, seriously, and did a thorough sweeping of the uncivil system that is eating into our conscience and societies. Lest, we are all doomed to fail.