The Election Commission of Bhutan, as required under the Public Election Fund Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008 (PEF Act 2018) herein informs the general public that the Report on the State Finance and Election Returns pertaining to the Election Campaign for the National Council Elections, 2018 is hereby being released for public information. The Accounts thereof is available for public inspection as per the above PEF Act 2008 and a copy of the Report may be accessed from below:
A total amount of Nu. 19,050,000/- was disbursed to the 127 contesting Candidates in the 20 Dzongkhags with a cash amount Nu. 150,000 (One Hundred Fifty Thousand) provided to each Candidate of which 96 Candidates refunded a total amount of Nu. 400,167.74/- with the maximum amount of Nu. 75,091.54/- being refunded by Nima, Candidate of Tang Gewog, Bumthang, followed by Nu.35,740/- by Jamtsho, of Khar Gewog, Pema Gatshel and Nu. 32,250/- by Tashi Phuntsho, of Yalang Gewog, Trashi Yangtse. Besides the cash amount, sponsorship of Common Forum, Public Debate, Campaign Materials and Media access were provided to ensure an effective election campaign. The State Sponsorship provided are as presented in Table 1 below:
The overall expenditure incurred on campaign fund & sponsored activities for the Candidates to the National Council Elections is Nu. 28,550,727/- which is an average amount of Nu. 224,809/- for each Candidate, including both the Fund provided and the sponsored activities.
The scrutiny of the Candidate’s Election Returns and the findings in brief are as follows:
1. Around 49% of the total campaign fund was spent on hiring of Vehicles, 29% on Daily Subsistence Allowance for Candidates and their Representatives and 16% & 4% on stationeries and communications
respectively. About 0.9% each was spent on rent for office space and other miscellaneous expenditures.
2. Differences were observed in the pattern and amount of expenditure incurred by various Candidates for meeting election campaign expenses. However, these were found to be within the categories permissible under the Section 77 of the Public Election Fund Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan
2008 and no fixed rates or standard have been prescribed so far.
3. The Election Returns were also checked against the weekly report submitted by the Candidates through the National Observers and Election Returns were found to be consistent with the weekly expenditure reports.
Audit Observation and Emphasis of Matter
The Royal Audit Authority has audited the Election Returns of the National Council Elections and the findings and recommendations related to:
1. Use of Election Campaign fund for transportation including different rates, hiring of own vehicle and double payment of mileage for campaign purpose;
2. Communication Expenses including bulk purchase of paper voucher and payment of lumpsum voucher allowance; and
3. Printing of Election Campaign Materials.
The Public Election Fund Division has accordingly followed up and the above audit observations have been resolved. The Division is currently in the process of following up on the recommendations to be proposed for approval by the Commission and incorporation in the upcoming National Assembly Elections.
Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan