(TibetanReview.net, Nov19, 2017) – After initially dismissing any need to let the Tibetan public know why Representative Penpa Tsering of the Office of Tibet, Washington, DC, had been replaced, the Kashag (Cabinet) of the Central Tibetan Administration has, on Nov 18, explained that he had been removed due to growing trust deficit, underperformance and insubordination. The clarification of the Kashag, posted on the CTA’s Tibet.net website, also accuses Penpa Tsering of making disparaging remarks about Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and the Kashag both in Washington, DC, and wherever he travelled.
The clarification faults Penpa Tsering for failing to present any report to the CTA during the period of Aug 2016 – Apr 2017 when many important developments occurred in the US, including President Donald Trump’s election victory and his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
He is also faulted for announcing in Oct 2016 that CTA staff Kunga Tashi will be posted in New York as the Chinese Liaison Officer and Coordinator without any consultation with the CTA. This, the clarification said, led the Kashag to issue its first advisory through the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) in Oct 2016, reminding the Representative to properly abide by CTA protocols and procedures.
He is accused of not providing any information about a welcome reception organized by the Dolgyal groups during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with President Trump in Apr 2017 in Florida. Given that there is a standing order to report on Dolgyal-related activities pertaining to His Holiness’s security, the Kashag had to serve a second advisory to Representative Penpa Tsering in Apr 2017, the clarification said.
The clarification says the representative was given advance notice of Sikyong’s visit to Washington, DC, with a directive to work to schedule meetings with the Speaker of the House, or the Majority Leader of the Senate, or even with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but failed entirely.
The clarification also says that although raising funds is one of the key responsibilities of the Offices of Tibet, Representatives Penpa Tsering had shirked this responsibility by saying tracking of US government budget was not his main responsibility and that it was the responsibility of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), when it was reported in May 2017 that the White House had proposed zero grant for Tibetans in the US government budget for 2018.
Penpa Tsering is also accuse of what amounts to panicked reaction when a bank in Washington, DC, notified the Office of Tibet that its five accounts faced immediate closure, leading to immediate withdrawal of all funds. On belated meeting with the bank’s Assistant General Manager, it was agreed that the accounts would be kept active, the clarification added.
And despite having been explained that an amount of US$1.5 million from the Tibet Fund – which is housed in the same premise as the Office of Tibet – spent on purchasing the new Office of Tibet building in Washington, DC, was a contribution not subject to any repayment obligation, the clarification says, Representative Penpa Tsering reported the matter to the CTA’s auditors, saying a loan payment for it was outstanding.
Penpa Tsering is also accused of having continued to harbour a grudge against the Sikyong for his election loss, despite having assured the public otherwise. The Kashag’s clarification claimed that in Jul 2016, he had tried hard to convince a female Kalon nominee against working with the Sikyong, making disparaging remarks about him, thereby trying to foil his attempts to appoint the only female Kalon, and telling her that accepting his nomination would jeopardize her career.
The clarification further says that no one incident triggered the Kashag’s decision. It added that “within a very short period of time, there were multiple lapses and an erosion of trust and confidence.”
Meanwhile, it has been reported in a section of the exile Tibetan online media that the US$1.5 million in question had appeared in the 2015 audit report of the Tibet Fund, accessible on its website, as a “Loan receivables” fixed asset. What is more, the loan is said to be partially collateralized by a lease agreement between the Fund and The Office of Tibet in an aggregate amount of $425,000. The loan is said to be set to mature on Mar 31, 2043 when a balloon payment of $1,500,000 will be due.