Bhutan Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay may charge the Opposition for defamation, should the corrupt practice as alleged prove fallacious, Kuensel reports.
According to the newspaper after the Opposition accused the Bhutan Prime Minister for misusing public resources to develop his private residence at Taba, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay at a press conference on Monday, asked the Opposition to report the matter to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for immediate investigation.
In a press conference on February 7, Opposition Leader, Pema Gyamtsho said a thorough investigation needs to be carried out into the alleged misuse of public resources by the PM to develop his private residence. The misuse of public resources for private benefits, he said, was a serious form of corruption.
A memo signed by the works and human settlement secretary, Phuntsho Wangdi, states that the ministry carried out the construction works worth Nu 2.959M for a security system at the Prime Minister’s residence in Taba.
The work included the construction of a guard house, a compound wall, electrification works, works related to water supply, construction of an electric sliding gate and carving and painting works. The memo stated that the work was carried out as per the instruction received from the Cabinet Secretariat through letter No S-11/410, dated July 22, 2015.
“The Opposition should have alerted ACC as soon as it came to their notice. Doing so now is an attempt to divert the attention of the public from the government’s charge of alleged corruption on a senior opposition member,” a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office stated.
Lyonchhen clarified that the Nu 3M was incurred for making security arrangements in and around the Prime Minister’s residence.
“On a small parental inherited land, I built a small house,” Tobgay said. “I built walls to prevent animals not enemies.” “It was inconvenient for a Prime Minister to invite guests and visitors alike.”
As the Prime Minister was building a compound wall own his own, he said, the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) on their investigation found that the wall being built privately was inadequate. The RBP reported that without the compound wall and a well-protected water supply system, the safety and security of the Prime Minister was compromised.
“Since it was RBP’s responsibility to arrange the security of the Prime Minister, they wrote to the Cabinet Secretary,” Tobgay said. “In a country like Bhutan, security should not be a concern. This was what I said and denied the state intervention.”
The RBP, on July 2015 wrote to the cabinet secretary stating that the security of the Bhutan Prime Minister is the top priority and that the police will not compromise this aspect.
The letter states that the security protocol 2014 sanctions the Prime Minister to reside outside the Lhyengye Densa and mandates the security division to provide residential coverage. “It is the responsibility of security division to identify the security threat and risk assessments based upon actual and perceived threat against His Excellency,” the letter stated.
Construction of concrete perimeter wall protection with minimum 8-9 ft on east, west and south of the residence is one of the requisites. The northern boundary has already been constructed and the RBP recommended raising the height of the wall.
The construction also included a security duty room with attached bathroom at the entrance gate. Installation of flood light at the four corners, installation of CCTV in four corners and secure water source was recommended. A map of Prime Minister’s residence and design of the security system was attached with the letter that was undersigned by Thrimdag Wogma, Superintendent of Police, Security division of Lyengye Densa, Phub Gyaltshen.
The press release from the PMO stated that the Prime Minister was compelled to agree because of the RBP’s insistence and precedence set by the former cabinet ministers “When I declined the RBP’s proposal, they said that they would not be able to guarantee the safety and security of the Prime Minister,” Tobgay said.
Bhutan Prime Minister claimed that he and his family had not intervened in the works undertaken by the works and human settlement ministry through a contractor.