By Tenzin Dharpo
Poles Apart- Former Speaker and NA Rep. Penpa Tsering and President of CTA Dr. Lobsang Sangay. file photo.
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 18: A lengthy clarification by the President Lobsang Sangay led Kashag (cabinet) over the removal of North America representative Penpa Tsering was released on Saturday when the offices of the Tibetan Central Administration was closed for weekend.
The clarification provided by the exile Tibetan government cabinet cited growing “performance and trust deficit” as well as “insubordination” by former Speaker Penpa Tsering in regards to the executive body of the CTA led by President Sangay as the three main reasons for its decision.
The statement mentioned that PT was “unable to transition from an elected representative to serving as a representative of the CTA.” The Kashag who turned around on their initial decision to not provide clarification then categorically stated that Tsering failed to submit crucial reports, did not seek the cabinet’s counsel for appointing a liaison officer, did not coordinate key meetings for the CTA President in the US, committed operational incompetence, failed to step up fund raising initiatives and engaged in back door lobbying against the Tibetan President.
The official statement also referenced to an incident of trust deficit when Penpta Tsering questioned President Sangay whether a sum of 1.5 million USD was a loan to Tibet-Fund, a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington and incidentally shared a common building for office space with Office of Tibet there.
The clarification by Kashag stated that in Sept. 2015 in Brussels, Belgium, “Representative Penpa Tsering asked whether USD 1.5 million from Tibet Fund used to purchase DC office building was a loan. In the presence of all other Representatives, Sikyong clearly explained that it was not a loan, but an amount that Tibet Fund had contributed and did not expect to be paid back. Despite Sikyong’s clarification and without consulting and seeking guidance and approval from Kashag and DIIR, Representative Penpa Tsering reported to CTA auditors that a loan payment for OoT DC office was outstanding. All the funds received and spent towards the purchase of the Office of Tibet building in Washington, DC is clearly documented, audited and fully accounted. CTA has all the relevant documents.”
However, a copy of a financial statement audited by the Loeb and Troper LLB firm for Tibet Fund for the year 2015 available on the organization’s website, clearly recorded a same amount of 1.5 million USD under Fixed Asset as “Loan receivables” that year.
The Loeb and Troper LLB audit report stated that on “March 31, 2014 the Fund entered into a $1,500,000 Loan Agreement with The Office of Tibet to purchase a building that will then be partially subleased by the Fund. The loan is partially collateralized by a lease agreement between the Fund and The Office of Tibet in an aggregate amount of $425,000. The loan matures on March 31, 2043 at which point the balloon payment of $1,500,000 will be due. The interest rate is 1% and the interest income for the year ended December 31, 2015 was $15,000. The amount outstanding as of December 31, 2014 is $1,500,000.”
Larger questions now loom as to the operational integrity of non-profit organizations and offices under CTA and how the development can affect funding from foreign governments in the years to come, if discrepancies surface.