“Corruption” means an act which constitutes an offence under Chapter 4 of the Anti-Corruption Act of Bhutan 2011.
Bribery, Embezzlement, Trading in influence, Abuse of functions, Possession of unexplained wealth, False claims, Failure to declare conflict of interest, Abuse of Privileged information and Money Laundering.
We support you in reporting, investigating, exposing and preventing corruption. Regardless of the outcome of a complaint, the information we receive helps identify broader trends and patterns that can help prevent corruption.
The powers bestowed upon the commission allows us to effectively investigate corruption. The ACC apart from Investigation, delivers a comprehensive range of prevention initiatives by empowering individuals in strengthening societal norms to create a happy, harmonious, and corruption-free society.
The ACC has three-pronged approach in preventing & combating corruption namely:
- Prevention of corruption emphasizes in reviewing & analyzing systemic weaknesses that may be prone to corruption, and accordingly devise corrective anti-corruption measures supported by empirical researches to safeguard the integrity of the systems.
- Education on Corruption accentuates in building informed citizenry by advocating on corruption issues and anti-corruption measures. Besides this, it strives to bring positive behavioral change against corruption with targeted programs viz. Youth Integrity Program, Integrity Clubs, modular curriculum on Ethics & Integrity in schools & tertiary institutions, e-learning course for civil servants, among others.
- Investigation of Corruption aims to expose and deter acts of corruption through swift, effective and unbiased investigation.
- The Parliament serves as an oversight body to the ACC, wherein the ACC is required by law to submit Annual Report on its policies and performances to the Druk Gyalpo, Prime Minister & Parliament under Section 169 (1) of ACAB. Through this report, the ACC is being informed on the requirement of enhancing its performance standards.
- Like any other agencies, the ACC is subject to audit on financial & HR management by the Royal Audit Authority and Royal Civil Service Commission respectively.
- ACC is subjected to different kinds of national & international assessment viz. National Integrity Assessment, National Corruption Barometer Survey, Corruption Perception Index, ACA Strengthening Initiative Assessment, among others.
- The Commission members and staff of the ACC are subjected to follow Code of Conduct provided under Section 16 of ACAB and liable for administrative/disciplinary action in the event of failing to abide by ethical code of conduct. Further, staff of the ACC are required to follow Code of Conduct provided under Bhutan Civil Service Rules & Regulation 2018.
- In case, if any of the Commission members and/or staff of the ACC are found to be engaged in any corrupt practices, the law does not provide any functional immunity.
- Ultimately, general public, Media & Civil Society Organizations play the role of watchdog to the ACC.
- Corruption is a complex phenomenon & cross-sectoral in nature, calling for continuous & concerted effort from all the stakeholders to prevent & combat corruption.
- Even at the individual level, every person is obliged to uphold justice and act against corruption as per Article 8 (9) of Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
- Annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score is constructed using multiple sources that gauge effectiveness of systems & processes related to dispensing justice, conducting elections, managing human resources, regulating public finance & procurement, among others. Hence, the score is a collective result of all the efforts made by the public and private in preventing & combating corruption.
The ACC accepts complaints and information about corrupt conduct involving or affecting authorities and officials, whether public or private.
Report Corruption* (link)
When we receive your complaint, we will acknowledge the receipt of it. We may also contact you for more information to help us assess the allegations and inform our decision.
Note: If you made your complaint anonymously we will not be able to contact you or discuss it with you.
We carefully assess each allegation based on:
- the information you provide
- relevant information available to us that could be connected to your complaint.
We will write to you by letter or email to let you know the outcome of your complaint, normally within 60 days. If you want an update, please contact us.
- Understand what we do
- Check if we are the right agency to complain to (we refer many complaints to the appropriate agency)
- Be clear on who you are complaining about.
- If you have already complained to another agency, have those details ready.
- Understand what happens to your complaint.
- If you’re calling us, grab a pen and paper.
- Complaints management in the ACC is guided by the ‘First-come-first serve Policy’.
- All complaints are managed in the web-based software called ‘Complaints & Investigation Management System’.
- Every complaint received & registered are provided with an auto-generated Unique Identification Number by the system.
- All complaints are decided through a two tier system – 1) Complaints Evaluation Committee & 2) Commission, as per Complaints Management Policy and Procedures.
- Conflicts of interests are declared & managed in every process of decision making.
- Except for hot pursuit cases & complaints related to ongoing HR and procurement issues, all decisions on complaints are done in a seriatim/orderly manner.
- Decisions to investigate/share for administrative action/sensitization/information enrichment/drop the complaints are based on standard pursuable parameters.
- Any complaints that qualify for investigation are prioritized by the Screening Committee as per the Prioritization Guideline on complaints.
- ACC investigates only those complaints with corruption offence as per Chapter 4 of ACAB.
- Only about 8 – 15 percent of the total complaints received qualify for investigation annually.
- Rest of the complaints are either shared for administrative action/sensitization or initiate information enrichment or dropped due to lack of corruption element.
- Complaints pertaining to civil matters are encouraged to seek judicial recourse.
Not all cases qualify for investigation and not all investigations mean there has been any wrongdoing. Rather, we investigate to:
- determine if there is evidence of corruption and potential corruption offences involved
- determine if there is evidence to warrant disciplinary action against any individual
- expose strengths and weaknesses in an organization’s processes/ systematic loopholes that could allow corruption to occur.
The duration of our investigations depends on the complexity and nature of the allegations. We have completed some investigations within a month’s period, others have taken more than 12 months. Our aim is to complete 3 investigations within 12 months.
- Search operations are conducted as per 60 (3) of CCPC and 101 (1) of ACAB, wherein the warrant permits the ACC to enter the premises only between 7 AM to 5 PM. However, the duration to complete such operations largely depends on the vastness of the dwelling place, often getting extended beyond 5 PM.
- ACC resorts for detention only if there are imminent risks of tampering evidence/witnesses to the case or risks of flight, which can be only ascertained during the time of interrogation often going beyond office hours.
- Interview is a passive method of soliciting information from the interviewees whereas interrogation is adopted only when an investigator is reasonably confident & certain that the accused has committed the offence.
- Interviews/interrogations are strictly conducted in accordance with the Guideline on interview and interrogation, which requires the investigators to exercise courtesy to our clients and ensure safety of suspects and witnesses at all times.
- At all times, investigators concerned are prohibited from embarrassing, condemning & humiliating interviewees.
- If the suspect is a female, interviews and interrogations are carried out in the presence of a lady officer.
- All interview/interrogation proceedings are recorded, both in audio & video, for future reference.
- The investigation process is guided by Manuals or Standard Operating Procedures to ensure that due processes of law are fulfilled.
- The interrogation room in the ACC is like any other usual office space with adequate health and safety measures including ventilation, timely meals, water and tea.
The ACC does not use any forms of weapons or firearms in exercise of its mandates and power.
ACC is mandated to detect and investigate any suspected offence, suspected attempt or suspected conspiracy to commit a corruption offence under Chapter 4 of ACAB. Therefore, the rule is applicable to all regardless of one’s position or background or status.
- Depending on the Evidentiary Test and Public Interest Test, only about 50 – 70 percent of the total cases investigated are referred for prosecution.
- Rest of the cases are either sent for disciplinary action or dropped.
- The prosecutorial mandate entirely lies with the Office of the Attorney General. However, the ACC prosecutes only in case if there is reasonable belief that there are conditions favoring the criteria stipulated under Section 128 (3) of ACAB.
- This Section has been rendered constitutional by the Supreme Court and desirable as a means to ensure checks and balance in a democratic set up.
- As far as possible, the investigation report includes all the relevant evidence gathered during the time of investigation. Moreover, investigators concerned are required to maintain a daily log in their investigation diary of every proceedings to ensure due diligence in gathering evidence.
- Investigators are always reminded not to have investigation biases in their training. Further, the investigation reports are vetted thoroughly to avoid reporting of any such biases, among others.
It is critical to ensure due process of law in a criminal investigation to safeguard the integrity of the case. The ACC initiates investigation in strict accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures regardless of whether the case is in the public or private sector.
- Every investigation team is being assigned with a Legal Officer to provide legal services and counsel on the case.
- Legal Officers in the ACC are mandated to conduct legal vetting on every case against all relevant legal provisions to ensure that the case fulfills evidentiary & public interest test for prosecution.
- ACC is a constitutionally independent body with the constitutional mandate to take all necessary steps to prevent & combat corruption.
- Section 6 of ACAB provides full operational independence and is not subjected to any direction or control of any person or authority.
- ACC has institutionalized internal standard processes/procedures to minimize such interference, wherein every investigation of a case is conducted in a team composed of two Investigators and a Legal Officer.
Irrespective of the source of information, all complaints are required to be processed through the two tier complaints evaluation system. Only after qualifying the minimum benchmark on pursuable parameters, the complaints are decided either for administrative action/sensitization or information enrichment or investigation or dropped.
- ACC can only suspend public servants during investigation if there are eminent risks of continuing malfeasance, influencing investigation, destroying/tampering evidence and/or manipulating evidence. However, if the public servant is under arrest and detention, it is automatically suspended. Further, no public or elected public servant can be suspended unilaterally by the ACC beyond a period of 12 months & 90 days respectively, during the investigation.
- After the investigation, suspension of public servants is done by relevant public agencies. The ACC only informs relevant agencies to consider suspension once formal criminal charges are filed in the Court by the Office of the Attorney General.
- Public agencies concerned are mandated to consider suspension based on the factors such as continuance of office will prejudice the trail or subvert the discipline in office, likely to end in official’s conviction, dismissal, removal, or compulsory retirement, whether the charge is connected with the official position of the public servant, among others.
ACC freezes only those immovable properties that are subject matter of corruption offence to prohibit from entering into dealing with such properties. However, considering the practical challenges, the ACC issues seizure notice that prohibits future transaction of the impugned property and does not restrict it from being used.