RAA uncovers fraud and corruption amounting to Nu 39.6M

RAA uncovers fraud and corruption amounting to Nu 39.6M

Fraud and corruption accounted for 1.39% of the total irregularities of Nu 2,840.092 million (M) in the FY 2022-23 annual audit report. Aggregating at Nu 39.604M, these cases were perpetrated with willful intent of deriving undue benefits, monetary or otherwise which had prima facie evidence of fraud or deceptions by individuals under different agencies, organizations and enterprises.

Irregular award of operation and maintenance works of EV charging machines and supply of spare parts amounting to Nu 13.970M by the MoIC was uncovered by the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) at then then Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC). The ministry also made a fictitious payment of Nu 0.785M for the maintenance of EV charging machines.

The MoIC had made an irregular award to M/s. S.P.D Enterprise for the installation of CCTV across 15 EV charging stations. The RAA noted numerous inconsistencies in the award of the contract and payment providing grounds for suspecting collusions and foul play. It was also noted that the payment was released even before the award of the contract.

The MoIC had a case of forgery and tampering of documents in the contract of construction of electrical car charging stations and related works. The RAA noted discrepancies in the records maintained in hard copy and e-GP and inconsistencies in evaluation leading to rejection of the lowest bidder.

The Thimphu Thromde administration had a case of misuse of cash revenue totaling to Nu 7.9914M. The RAA noted that the cash revenue collected through both system and manual collections did not match with the deposit slips from FY 2018-19 to April 2022. The Thromde administration was recommended to recover the shortages besides taking actions on the officials involved.

The Phuentsholing Thromde administration had made payment of Nu 0.156M to M/s Yanki Enterprise for hiring of vehicles for transportation of waste from old to new landfill. The RAA confirmed that the bills claimed were for earth-moving machineries which cannot be used for transportation of waste. Hence, the payment made was not admissible. The RAA advised for the recovery of the amount and initiate administrative action against the official responsible.

The Gomdar gewog administration, Samdrupjongkhar had a case of non-remittance of rural household insurance premiums amounting to Nu 0.032M. The issue surfaced during the processing of insurance claims after the disaster occurred due to a windstorm on March 31, 2019. The RAA found that the former Gaydrung had failed to remit the premiums.

The Jamkhar gewog administration, Trashiyangtse had a case of misuse of funds amounting to Nu 1M. The amount was supposedly provided as an advance to the former Gup for road improvement works for which supporting documents and related records were not produced for verification. The advance remained unadjusted even after the retirement of the former Gup indicating potential misuse.

In Dagana dzongkhag, the Lhamoizingkha dungkhag administration had a case of misuse of revenues amounting to Nu 0.303M. The RAA found that the Land Record Assistant had not deposited the 3% property transfer tax and also resorted to manipulation of sales deeds to undervalue the property. The dungkhag and dzongkhag administrations were recommended to recover the misappropriated amount along with 24% penal interest besides initiating legal actions against the individual.

The Geserling gewog administration had made payment of Nu 1.226M without supporting documents. The RAA could not establish the legitimacy of the payments in the absence of relevant documents. The gewog administration was recommended to recover the amount besides initiating legal actions against the individual.

The Tashiding gewog administration had made payment of Nu 1.975M without supporting documents. The RAA could not establish the legitimacy of the payments in the absence of relevant documents. The gewog administration was recommended to recover the amount besides initiating legal actions against the individual.

The Regional Immigration Office (RIO), Gelephu had a case of misappropriation of government funds amounting to Nu 1.190M. The RAA found that the accountant had resorted to direct transfer of funds from LC-Account through ePEMS into his personal saving account. The disbursement vouchers were prepared, verified, approved and payment instruction authorized in ePEMS single handedly by the accountant.

They had another case of payment made for fictitious claims of TADA amounting to Nu 0.142 million by the accountant. The lapses were on account of TADA claims without performing the tours, refunds asked in guise of excess and double payments from other officials and depositing into his personal account of the accountant.

The Jigme Namgyel Engineering College (JNEC), Dewathang had made payment of Nu 1.251M to M/s Chophel Technology for the supply of CNC machine and other lab equipment. The supplier failed to supply the materials despite several reminders. The JNEC could not forfeit the performance security as the bank guarantee was forged. The RAA recommended for recovery of the amount along with applicable liquidated damages and initiate administrative action against dealing officials for failure to exercise due diligence.

The National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS) had made a payment of Nu 0.680M based on the fictitious claims for vehicle hiring charges in the construction of boundary pillars along the Indo-Bhutan Border. The RAA noted that the officials had claimed hiring charges of vehicles owned and registered in their names. The RAA recommended recovering the amount and initiate actions against the official responsible.

The Bhutan Development Bank Limited (BDBL) branch in Panbang had a case of misappropriation of cash aggregating to Nu 2.302M since 2017. The misuse of cash occurred due to inadequate monitoring and control. The case is under litigation. The BDBL was asked to update the outcome of the case to the RAA for information and record.

Meanwhile, all the cases were forwarded to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) for investigations. Individuals were asked to be taken legal actions by the concerned agencies and some recoveries were also made by the RAA.

Tashi Namgyal from Bhutan