Corruption, the scourge of Bhutan’s developmental efforts

Despite the media, Royal Audit Authority and the Anti-corruption Commission flashing big red lights on the rampant corruption practice in the country, the level and trend has sadly remained the same, if not worse, even today.

Over the years the RAA has published some glaring loopholes and deficiencies in our public and corporate offices which run into billions every year. Yet, corruption and misuse and siphoning of public funds and resources have remained rampant as ever.

The ACC has also been persecuting corrupt officials and trying to up the ante on the fight against corruption, however, given the trends and the rising incidences there seem to be a herculean effort awaiting us.   

The recent report published by the RAA states that there are irregularities amounting to more than 7 billion, and this is just in a year. Every year, their Majesties the Druk Gyalpo, the media, government watch-dogs and NGOs bring glaring corruption tales and reports in the mainstream.

However, this silent lack of empathy and care for state resources and public funds has gone unchallenged that we often are made to think that corruption will go unpunished in Bhutan. A corrupt government official who has siphoned off millions from the state treasury is virtually made to go scot free by paying money in lieu of imprisonment.

This has led to a culture of breeding corruption in our collective psyche that “one can easily escape the law even if one is caught with corrupt acts”. The fact that government officials and their bosses do not persecute corrupt officials, despite loads of evidences being mounted them, adds fuel to the fire.

If Bhutan were to develop and take the next big leap, we must empower the media and agencies like the ACC and the RAA. Every year, the RAA reports are filled with corruption and embezzlement cases that amount into billions. Yet we hear of no actions being taken against these corrupt officials, and hence the diseased culture.  

Our vision of a corruption free society and a developed nation will never be realized if we simple let go these shameful acts unpunished. We must frame harsher laws to punish corruption and bring an end to this social malice.

Otherwise, editorials like these will just become a far outcry and a meek bleat in the ears of the corrupt and the powerful.

 Bhutanese deserve more. Our nation and our tireless leaders deserve our love and empathy.