Corruption: In its ongoing investigation in Phuentsholing, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has detained two Bhutanese women and two non-Bhutanese men for interrogation in connection to alleged corruption.

The detention is linked with the closing of Tashi Enterprise in the lower market.

Although commission officials could not be contacted, Kuensel sources said that one of the women owned the license of the enterprise.

The other woman, it was learnt is a relative of the former director of regional revenue and customs office in Phuentsholing, Choyzang Tashi. The former revenue director is still detained in Phuentsholing.

Choyzang Tashi was detained for alleged customs mal-administration, corrupt and fraudulent practices that are suspected to have started when he was the regional director in Phuentsholing from 2002 to 2007.

Meanwhile, locals in Phuentsholing say they could have been detained for corruption related to import of beer (HIT). The location where Tashi Enterprise has established its business today was earlier run in the name of Druk Norlha enterprise.

Although Druk Norlha was in a different license, which is cancelled now, it was learnt that a non-Bhutanese who ran Tashi Enterprise also controlled Druk Norlha.

In what’s touted as its biggest investigation to date, the commission since April this year has been closing and suspending business entities for alleged corrupt practices of tax evasion, fronting and illegal repatriation of INR through deflection of non-taxable commodities and producing fake import bills.

The commission also detained seven inspectors and customs officials for interrogation for alleged collusion and bribery cases and several businessmen and non-Bhutanese, who were later released on bail.

As of today ACC has suspended 24 licenses that include 21 retail licenses, one ticketing agent, and one license of clearing agent. A transport agent license has also been suspended.

The commission also had sealed JPLP, Ramasis Enterprise, Ramprit Enterprise, and Shah and Sons Enterprise from operation. These establishments, which are own by non-Bhutanese with legal licenses, have been asked to lift their commodities. They are not allowed to sell in retail.

An auction will be held later this month to sell off the commodities and goods of these suspended business entities. Retail shops run (under fronting) by non-Bhutanese, are planning to sell the shop. They also have not imported commodities.

By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing