Launch of the Anti-Corruption Agencies strengthening initiative: Assessment of Bhutan Anti-Corruption Commission 2021

On 11 May 2022, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) launched the Anti-Corruption Agencies strengthening initiative: Assessment of Bhutan Anti-Corruption Commission 2021, an assessment carried out by the Transparency International.

Transparency International (TI) developed an assessment aimed at strengthening Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs) in the Asia Pacific Region. The assessment is aimed at highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of ACAs and the tool has been developed and refined over a period of five years with the latest iteration of the tool based on the experience of conducting an initial pilot in Bhutan in 2015 and a first round of assessments in seven other countries in the Asia Pacific region in 2016 and 2017. 

TI carried out the second assessment of the ACC, Bhutan between September and December 2021 to measure progress since the initial pilot assessment in 2015. The assessment indicated that the ACC continues to perform very well where by 66% of the indicators were rated as high, 30% as moderate and 4% as low. The overall rating declined slightly since the first assessment in 2015 (when 70 % were rated as high, 26 % as moderate and 4 % as low). However, the two assessments are not directly comparable as the indicator framework has been revised since the first assessment. 

According to the 2021 assessment, the commission’s strongest dimensions are: (A) independence and status (94%); (E) prevention, education and outreach (94%); and (B) financial and human resources (83%). By contrast, its weakest dimensions are: (D) detection, investigation and prosecution (67%); (F) cooperation and external relations (67%); and (C) accountability and integrity (78%).

Some of the recommendations as per the assessment are:

1. The ACC to strengthen and broaden the scope of its intelligence division;

2. The ACC to explore possibilities to better pool its expertise and research capacity;

3. The ACC should consider how it can collaborate more with external stakeholders on its outreach and education campaigns;

4.Parliament should pass proposed amendments to the Anti-Corruption Act;

5.The ACC should consider incorporating exit interviews of current, former and outgoing employees;

6.The ACC could publicly present the results of its reports to citizens, civil society organizations and the media

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