Bhutan to sack corrupt parliamentarians, says PM

June 14th, 2008 - 10:52 am ICT by IANS  

Thimphu, June 14 (IANS) Bhutanese Prime Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley has said the newly elected government has adopted a zero-tolerance policy against corruption and warned to sack officials, including parliamentarians, if they were found to be dishonest. “Parliamentarians would be guided by a clear code of conduct and morals. The ethics committee would be responsible to review and look into their background and credentials. Should there be any discrepancies, measures will be taken to remove them from their positions,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by Bhutan’s national newspaper Kuensel.

Thinley was speaking in Thimphu Thursday at the launch of a UN Development Programme (UNDP) report titled “Tackling Corruption, Transforming Lives” that examines human development dimensions of corruption in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The greatest thing about democracy is not only about having the power to elect politicians to govern, but the power and the rights of the people to hold the government accountable and to change it if it is not accountable,” he said.

In March, Bhutan shifted from a 100-year-old monarchy to democracy by holding the first general elections.

Thinley’s party, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), won a landslide victory against its only rival, the People’s Democratic Party, winning 45 of the 47 parliamentary seats.

“Transforming leaders into being honest would help transform the lives of the people in the Asia-Pacific region. The release of the report and its findings would help transform the lives of the people, particularly the poor, who are hit the hardest by corruption,”Thinley said.

Speaking at the same function, Bhutan’s Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) chief Aum Neten Zangmo said the Himalayan nation was by far one of the most corruption free country in the Asia Pacific region.

“Bhutan can be declared a corruption free country with all the structures in place for this,” Zangmo said.

The UNDP representative in Bhutan, Nicholas Rosellini, praised the country’s political leadership of taking a firm stand on fighting corruption.

“In many countries, an anti-corruption initiative is a non-starter due to lack of political will and weak leadership,” Rosellini said.

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