Monday, April 27, 2015

Department of Revenue and Customs a house of corruption or what ?

It is appalling to read that more than 20 million ngultrums could be leaking out  daily at Phuentsholing Revenue & Customs Check Post. This has got to be corrected and it should be possible to plug this continuous haemorrhage of tax money at various international check points.  After all there had to be honest officers still dedicating their service to the nation.  The system of governance must be geared to encourage honest environment. When authorities favour incapable yes men  and forcefully remove or suppress honest able officers, the culture of corruption has to spread.

Long ago some smart employees had realised that the culture of successful survival lay in the practice of joint corruption wherein the spoils are split up and down. That way lush posting is available and promotion is guaranteed with rewards unlimited. Corruption is not a disease as some have termed. It is becoming the core of  systematic style of national management.

Honesty and frankness is frowned upon. Even informers are penalised by administrative agencies. Therefore even
ACC cannot match the might of corrupted individuals and Agencies that enjoy government confidence. And very soon ACC too could get corrupted or blunted by sheer force of the nature of entrenched system of corruption.

The public hears a great deal of anti-corruption talks and orientation workshops but hardly any concrete sample of leading the crusade by example. The ills of corruption is not restricted to any specific individual, agency or government nor to definition of haves and have nots. It is prevalent all the time and at every opportunity more so where transactions are huge and a plentiful like check posts of Revenue and Custom and mining activities and at banks. Recently I even heard of a terrible story of passport renewal fee fraud that victimise students studying in third countries. There is no shame and  no boundary and definitely no fear since it is conducted at team work level.

I just wonder if the Ministry of Finance would be willing to contract out the whole system. Maybe it is possible to enrich the cash strapped Government to some extent through a honest and able supervision and management of such custom and revenue and mining check posts in Bhutan. A system of healthy and continuous check and balanced management needs to be introduced and enforced to encourage diligence and honesty.


  1. heard that recently one honest officer from pling got transferred coz he was very strict and didn't cooperate for som corrupt practice involving high profile people...ACC may check that issue as well!

  2. The late Joint Secretary Dasho Rinzin Dorji of the Ministry of Trade & Industries had a great idea how this country could be profitably run and administered:

    Contract out the administration of the country to a business executive with known record of competence, at 10% commission.

    1. It is already contracted to private i.e clearing agent is doing the works.

  3. Not custom official are corrupted but under compulsion of the renown business men, industrialist and contractor.

  4. It's easy to blame big biz., but the flaw is in all of us. Esp. the system which is not clear. Also you can see Govt big shots -politicians, senior civil servants, etc. not paying the due tax on a daily basis at Paro airport, rewarding themselves with quota for car, etc.. Maybe that's why others are trying to bypass taxes at phuentsholing. Our leadership shd lead by example before picking on others.

  5. The leakage of Nu. 20 million from Phunetsholing is based on the article carried out by Kuensel. The underlying assumption, is that on an average 200 truckloads of goods enter Bhutan from Phuenthsoling. Based on the verification carried out by ACC with Customs Officials, some of these importers undervalue their goods to avoid taxes in the range of Nu.27,000 to Nu.100,000. Therefore if 200 trucks avoided taxes of Nu. 100,000 each, the daily leakage in revenue would be nu. 20 million from Phuentsholing.
    1. Is it true that the Government is losing 20 million from leakages in Phuentsholing? This would be true if everybody importing goods into the country were under invoicing and cheating the government. Out of 200 trucks in a day, every one would not be falsifying their documents to avoid taxes. Besides 50% of the vehicles entering Phuentsholing are carrying goods (raw materials) for Pasakha Industries which is already exempted from payment of Sales tax. Besides the Pasakha industries, there are goods of the Government that enter from Phuntsholing which would also be exempted from taxes in most cases.

    2. The 20 million leakage would be true, if the customs officials after finding out that goods have been under invoiced would have let off the importer without collecting taxes on the under invoiced goods. However, such is not the case. There are instances on a regular basis for which Customs Officials have detected cases of under invoicing and accordingly levied taxes and fines. Such reports of fines and taxes and fines being levied on under invoiced goods have been carried out by Kuensel and BBS in its news until 2014.
    While I would accept that there maybe some corrupt individuals, it would not be advisable to put all the customs officials of Phuntsholing or the Department of Revenue & Customs in the same basket and term them all as corrupt. Such branding will only demoralize the honest individuals to carry out their work. Besides, i would also like to advise all readers of the newspapers, not to consume everything reported by the reporters to be true and be a bit more analytical. Journalism and journalistic ethics are new to Bhutan which may take time to develop.

  6. Dear Anonymous, The fact you choose to be anonymous in writing your defence of Revenue Dept.performan gives room for questions.

    Possibly Kuensel reporter Nu: 20 million is over stretched but your figure of 209 trucks is definitely wrong because the Regional Office has already declared an average of over 300 trucks.

    The leakages is not just in under invoicing. There is also over invoicing and this happens with tax exempted goods. Whatever the exact figure of daily loss is, it is huge no matter how you look from whatever direction.

    There are most certainly honest people in Revenue as there are in other Agencies. For the sake of such honest and dedicated people do not hide behind anonymity and pretend corruption at Phuentsholing Office is acceptable.. Revenue honest bosses must accept the truth of what has been happening and stand forward to assist ACC to bring the culprits to book.

  7. The Anonymous defends Revenue Office in Phuentsholing by attacking the Kuensel figure of Nu: 20million leakage basing on 200 trucks daily. Why 200 trucks when it is already declared that over 300 truck loads cross into Bhutan daily.

    And leakages would cover both under invoicing
    Of taxable goods and over invoicing of untaxable goods. So the figure of 20 million is real possibility.

    What is unacceptable is Revenue Officers or colleagues trying to defend such deep systemized corruption under annoymity or otherwise by arguing on the amount of daily leakages. . That is bold and frightening. It shows the kind of upward corruption . Already the campaign of dilution has started.

    There has to be honest and dedicated people in Revenue Dept as in other Government Offices. Such Officers must come forward united and unafraid to assist ACC and redeem Revenue and Custom Offices by assisting in booking the real culprits.

  8. i really doubt whether there is proper check and balance system in DRC particularly in time, i heard many pple work together and share the benefits!!! No doubt there will be some good officials but heard that honest officials get transferred suddenly and mysteriously! check with DRC.

    Heard that the common practice of corruption is: If the tax value is 100,000, the owner will declare and pay 50,000 at check post/Gov and then 25,000 to the guy/inspector/official on duty. That way owner benefits 25,000...everyone wins except gov....this fraudulent practice hav been going on for many yrs. If u guys don't believe, pls check the asset of custom pple especially inspectors.

    The other corrupt practice is in collecting of sales tax from our shops within the country. Tax officials asses physically and collects much less than what is supposed to be collected and of course some goes in individual pocket.

    Not blaming everyone in DRC but they themselves know very well about this practices. If agencies could fix this menace, i am sure our revenue will be double or triple within few years.

    concerned citizen