By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 20: The Tibetan President currently on an official tour in Canada on Sunday responded to queries on the “loan” of 1.5 million USD dollars from Tibet Fund, saying the non-profit organization had to record the amount as loan due to legal and regulation-bound reasons but is not a loan.
President Sangay said that an agreement between Tibet Fund and Central Tibetan Administration recognize the amount to be a contribution to purchase the property that did not have to be paid back in the future but instead will be collateralized as payment for the lease for the office space by the Tibet Fund. Tibet Fund subleases office space at the Office of Tibet’s Washington DC office.
The issue became a crucial element in the ousting of the North America representative and former Speaker Penpa Tsering by Kashag (cabinet).
The Kashag among its 10 reasons, cited an incident of trust deficit when Penpa Tsering questioned President Sangay whether a sum of 1.5 million USD was a loan to Tibet-Fund. The Sangay led Kashag on Saturday released a clarification, which stated, “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.”
The financial statement of 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 auditor’s report also mentioned in the footnote 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.”
The President told Tibetans in Toronto that repeated incidents of underperformance and questionable actions by the NA rep. Penpa Tsering led to his termination. “The Kashag could not trust Penpa Tsering in Washington DC office following multiple incidents that eroded the trust and expectations placed on him,” the President said. The Kashag stated that growing “trust and performance deficit” as well as “insubordination” as key reasons to remove the incumbent NA representative of the Washington CTA mission.
Former Speaker Penpa Tsering in response told a Tibetan media agency that he will respond to the allegations soon after November 30. Some Tibetans carried out peaceful protest at the venue of the public event with placards that read, “We are not protesting against our government, all we ask is the truth.”
The Washington CTA mission remains the most crucial position in the hierarchy of outposts of the Tibetan polity. Education minister Ngodup Tsering will take charge of the office beginning next month.