The Election Commission of Bhutan, as required under the Public Election Fund Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008 (PEF Act 2008) herein informs the general public that the Report on the State Finance and Election Returns pertaining to the Election Campaign for the National Assembly Elections, 2018 is hereby being released for public information. The Report thereof is available for public inspection as per the above PEF Act 2008 at Democracy House, Kawangjangsa, Thimphu and may also be accessed as below:
For the Primary Round of Elections, a total amount of Nu. 28,200,000/- (Nu. 7,050,000/- each) was transferred to the Election Campaign Bank Accounts of the four Political Parties whose Letter of Intent was accepted by the Election Commission. For the General Elections, a total amount of Nu.14,100,000/- was similarly disbursed to 94 Candidates of the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa in the 47 constituencies.
The summary details of the State Funds and in-kind Sponsorship for election campaign, provided under the Laws, are as presented in Table 1 below:
Table 1: Categories of Campaign Expenditures
The overall expenditure incurred on campaign fund and sponsored activities for the Primary Round and the General Election is Nu. 54,144,673/-. On average, a total amount of Nu. 7,471,000/- and Nu.258,092 /- was spent on each Political Party for the Primary Round and Candidate in the General Elections respectively.
Scrutiny of the Parties’ and Candidate’s Election Returns was initially carried out by the Public Election Fund Division of the Election Commission of Bhutan and some highlights are as follows:
- The Parties and Candidates spent maximum Campaign Funds in hiring of Vehicles, Daily Subsistence Allowance for Candidates and their Representatives and communications;
- Expenditures were found to be generally in line with the permissible activities. Inconsistencies in a few Election Returns were observed and necessary follow- up was carried out with the concerned;
- There was no unspent funds returned by any Party during the Primary Round. Besides the State Funding, the Parties had incurred expenditures paid from the party’s own funds which were within the permissible activities and limits; and
- A total of Nu. 124,407/- unspent funds was returned by 55 Candidates during the General Elections.
Audit Observation and Emphasis of Matter
The Royal Audit Authority completed the audit of the Election Returns of the National Assembly Elections on 9th of January 2019. The observations and memos were duly forwarded to the concerned Political Parties and Candidates for their response and follow-up. The findings, recommendations and follow-up, in summary, are:
- Inadmissible expenditures incurred by 28 Candidates particularly on DSA and hiring payments;
- Non-deduction of TDS by Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party & Druk Phuensum Tshogpa; and
- Action to be taken on late submission of Election Returns by DPT Candidate from Lamgong-Wangchang Constituency, Paro Dzongkhag for the General Elections. The Election Commission has disqualified the Candidate from contesting any future elections in the country as per Section 179 (d) of Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008.
The final Audit Exit Meeting was held on 28th of January 2019 and all were found in order except for recovery to be made from four Candidates which the Public Election Fund Division has followed up accordingly and the recovered amounts, as required, has been duly deposited into Audit Recoveries Account.
Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan