(TibetanReview.net, Dec07, 2017) – Following his handing over of charge on Nov 30, the now former Representative at the Office of Tibet, Washington, DC, Mr Penpa Tsering addressed a press conference on Dec 5, refuting as false, and alleging as being designed to mislead the Tibetan public, all the grounds put out by the Kashag for removing him from office. He further contended that as the side that had acted against him on those 10 grounds, the responsibility to allay the turbulence resulting from that decision was fully upon the Kashag. He vowed to take further action if the Kashag failed to come clean on its allegations against him.
He shared with the Tibetan journalists attending the press conference a 97-page, point-by-point rebuttal of the Kashag’s allegations against him, complete with numerous official correspondences, which he said vindicated his position.
On the allegation of ‘trust deficit’ cited for his removal from office, Penpa Tsering maintained that the lack of trust, in fact, existed on the side of the Kashag, saying he was kept in the dark on matters related to US government funding provided through the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) despite reaching out to the CTA President on the matter. He said previous Office of Tibet Representatives had the responsibility to manage those funds. He also contended that on a few occasions, his office was not notified of the schedules of the visits to North America by the CTA President and a member of his cabinet.
On the charge of failing to schedule meetings with US congress leaders during a CTA president’s visit, he said none materialized despite his efforts due to the shortness of notice and scheduling conflicts. He wondered whether any of his predecessors had been taken to task for any such failure.
On the allegation of taking up with a bank only belatedly, and only after withdrawing funds, its notification of intention to close down the Office of Tibet’s five bank accounts, he said the bank itself showed its move to be clearly political and therefore it could not have been prevented. He denied that a huge loss in tax had occurred as a result, as alleged.
He refuted the Kashag’s allegation that he announced the appointment of Mr Kunga Tashi as the Chinese Liaison officer at his office unilaterally by saying he had made it clear that the appointment had not been finalized and was subject to Kashag’s decision.
On the issue of the amount of $1.5 million the Office of Tibet had received from the Tibet Fund during his predecessor’s tenure for the purchase of its new building in the US capital, he said he never intended to make an issue of it. Rather, he said he only pointed out that an entry recorded as a receivable amount in the books of account of the latter did not appear as a payable entry in the former’s account books, adding this accounting anomaly would definitely have led to problems later on.
The Kashag’s clarification had said the amount, though entered as a loan for legal purposes, was in fact a grant and Penpa Tsering was wrong to call it a loan. Anyhow, said Penpa Tsering, such back door way to receive fund without approval from the Tibetan parliament in exile was a violation of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile. He called it his duty to question such discrepancies and did not consider them acts of insubordination.
On other points, Penpa Tsering denied having received three letters of warnings over the period of one year and two months he had served on the post but only the last one notifying the termination of his service.
On the allegation that he did not report to the Kashag the Dholgyal followers’ welcome rally for Chinese President Xi Jinping during his US visit in early April, Penpa Tsering said this was patently untrue. He also refuted the allegation of failing to lobby for and receive funding from the US government for the CTA.
Penpa Tsering did admit that he had a long chat with the Sikyong’s female nominee for a Kalon post but denied having tried to convince her to refuse to work under him by criticizing him and the Kashag as alleged in the 10-point clarification. He said this took place at a dinner party attended by many people and in their presence.
The Kashag had, in its Nov 18 clarifications, said Penpa Tsering had been removed by its Nov 7 decision “due to growing trust deficit, underperformance and insubordination”.
During the nearly four-hour press conference held at Mcleod Ganj, Penpa Tsering felt that no cause for him to try to vindicate himself would have arisen had the Kashag removed him from office just like that or by simply suggesting that it was unable to work with him. However, the seriousness of the allegations cited for removing him from office rendered it imperative for him to explain his position on the development, he said. He maintained that the allegations were intended to tarnish his image.
Mr Penpa Tsering, a former Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, also vowed to make further moves unless the Kashag comes clean on its allegations against him.