How corrupt is corrupt?

A most significant issue in the proposed amendment to the existing Anti-Corruption Act is visible under chapter four of the amendment bill. This chapter deals with corruption offences and penalties.

The chapter in brief has 28 corruption offences proposed and penalties. The penalties proposed are broadly inline with the Penal Code of Bhutan (PCB) except in the case of 6 offences. These include:-

(i) failure to declare conflict of interest

Penalty: not less than 1 year to not more than 3 years imprisonment

(ii) false declarations with a view to conceal

Penalty: not less than 1 year to not more than 3 years imprisonment

(iii) possession of unexplained wealth (applicable to only former or current public servants during the time of alleged corruption)

Penalty: not less than 1 year to not more than 3 years imprisonment in addition to fine the amount or worth of asset into the consolidated fund.

(iv) Offences relating to witness

Penalty: not less than 1 year to not more than 3 years imprisonment

(v) Interference with, hindering or obstruction of investigation

Penalty: not less than 1 year to not more than 3 years imprisonment

(vi) Participation in an offence

Penalty: not less than 1 year to not more than 3 years imprisonment

What is different and a departure from the PCB here is that it is proposed to be a non-bailable offence. In other words, under current circumstances, one could pay thrimthue (post bail) and leave. In the PCB, an offence punishable with such a prison term falls under misdemeanor. A person sentenced then can post bail and leave. Sentences under fourth degree and above need to serve prison terms. 

Will such a penalty be acceptable to society at large? 

Making corruption risky and  expensive  at all levels may need stringent law. Will imprisonment for all types of corruption offences help?

UPDATE July 13, 2010: Out of the 28 identified corruption offences in the amendment bill, a no thrim theu (fine in lieu of imprisonment) penalty was proposed. However, since 6 of the proposed corruption offences above still fall under either petty misdemeanour or misdemeanour; the House resolved to allow application of the Penal Code provisions which allow payment of fine in lieu of imprisonment for these 6 offences; 22 corruption offences will now be punishable by imprisonment sentences.

Advertisements

About Sangay Khandu

Sangay Khandu is a Member of Parliament, serving his 2nd term representing the people of Gasa Dzongkhag to the National Council.
This entry was posted in Legislation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s