English | Dzongkha Saturday, July 24, 2021

NA proposes OAG to expedite recovery of assets

Jun 16, 2021

The National Assembly endorsed the Good Governance Committee’s (GGC) recommendation to the Office of the Attorney General to expedite the recovery of assets. The committee recommended it while deliberating on the review report of ACC’s annual report 2019. 

According to the ACC’s annual report 2019, courts ordered restitution amounting to more than Nu 632 M and 84.07 acres of state land between 2006 and 2019.

In 2019, courts ordered restitution of over Nu 255 M. Of it, only over Nu 47 M and 63.12 decimal lands were restituted during the year. Restitution amounting to Nu 191 M is pending as of December 2019.

“There are pending restitutions because some people are convicted. Also, a few people are outside the country as per the report,” said the Dramedtse-Ngatshang MP Ugyen Wangdi, who is a member of the GGC.  

“The government and the members present should know the challenges that OAG is facing. There could be a shortage of manpower. So we should come up with a solution. I also heard that there is a separate recovery desk for that matter which is a good initiative. We also should look into some of the challenges the desk is facing. Some cases are eight to nine years old where assets are not restituted even now. We also need to look into this matter,” added Bartsham-Shongphu’s MP Passang Dorji (PhD).  

As per the Office of the Attorney General, the office established a specialized property and judgment enforcement unit in 2017 to enforce the judgments rendered by the courts, auction seized properties, enable restitution and payment of compensation among others.

According to the OAG’s annual report 2020, the unit faces challenges such as locating defendants’ whereabouts, inability to compensate victims especially those convicted for life imprisonment, getting the property investigation order and the travel claim amount exceeding the auction proceeds value.

Besides recommending the OAG to expedite the recovery of assets, the Good Governance Committee proposed two other recommendations. The committee recommended the government designate or establish a separate bench for corruption cases and for the ACC to conduct corruption risk management for policy and electoral system. All the 37 members present voted in support of the recommendations. The recommendations will be submitted to the government for implementation by the relevant stakeholders.

Karma Wangdi/Pema Seldon Tshering/Tshering Zam

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