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Corruption is commonly defined as the abuse of public office for private gains. It is a silent crime that is sustained by weak systems and lack of accountability. Corruption is both a cause and a symptom of poor governance. It contributes to poverty by making the poor people pay for services as resources and public money intended for development are siphoned off, undermining government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice and discouraging development assistance.
The consequences of pervasive corruption and the process of democratization will increasingly put pressure on the Government to be accountable and transparent in the performance of its duties.
In 1999, when the country commemorated the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty's progressive and peaceful reign, it was His Majesty's desire that the occasion be an opportunity to take initiatives to enhance the ability of the Government to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of the people and to raise public awareness and determination to prevent the evil of corruption from taking root in our society.
HRH Chhoetse Penlop, addressing the closing session of the 2005 Graduate Orientation said, "The biggest challenges facing Bhutan at the moment are complacency and corruption. I have no doubt that that we can make an impact and a difference in our nation's future and this can be achieved if we are hard working and honest."
Political will is of paramount importance for the Royal Government's drive against corruption. Integrity and incorruptibility of leaders at all levels will be critical in making or breaking the state. In Bhutan, the strong political leadership committed to fighting corruption and promoting an anti-corruption culture at the highest level offers a firm foundation to sincerely address the social sickness. With the strong political will, demonstrated by clear personal examples of senior leaders and sustained enforcement action, Bhutan will be recognized as a country that is serous about countering corruption.
On the 30th Day of the 10th Month of the Wood Bird Year corresponding to 31st December 2005, His Majesty decreed that an Anti-Corruption Commission be established.
The Royal Decree states, "With the rapid pace of economic development in our country, there have been changes in the thinking of the people with the influence of self-interest leading to corrupt practices taking place in both the government and the private sector. If appropriate steps are not taken now to stop this trend, it will lead very serious problems in the future, for both the government and the people, in our country with a very small population. In this regard, it is the responsibility of every Bhutanese to act against corruption in our country.
At a time when we are establishing parliamentary democracy in the country, it is very important to curb and root out corruption from the very beginning. Therefore, it is imperative to establish the Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission before the adoption of the Constitution and build a strong foundation for the Commission to effectively carry out its functions and responsibilities".
As a process towards building the strong foundation, the Anti-Corruption Commission has developed a preliminary paper that defines its mission, values that it will uphold, standards that will be the yardstick of its performance and strategies to achieve its mission.
Vision: To strive towards building a happy, harmonious and corruption free society.
Mission: To eliminate corruption through leading by example, achieving excellence in partnerships, and mainstreaming anti corruption strategies/measures in public/private organizations.
Values:Leadership, teamwork, credibility, integrity, humility, transparency, fearlessness, impartiality, accountability, professionalism, expediency, creativity, tenacity of purpose and result-driven, empathy.