What could be one of the biggest cases in the recent past, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has implicated 16 top officials of the Royal Insurance Corporation Limited (RICBL) and three private individuals in connection with five separate cases the anti-graft investigated in 2016 and 2017.

The commission forwarded its findings and draft charges to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

“On the basis of findings of facts enumerated and evidences obtained, the ACC hereby finds that the conduct of the accused persons are serious both in terms of substance and scale that should merit consideration of the OAG to prosecute the case,” the commission stated in the referral letter.

OAG officials said the reports are yet to be reviewed.

The prosecution referral reports included investigations into the alleged irrational financial transactions between the RICBL and Nubri Capital Private Limited, fraud and collusion in the settlement and false insurance claim of a Toyota Prado, take over of another private Prado by the RICBL, irrational investments by the management in Sherub Reldri Higher Secondary School in Mongar and Neethsel Private Limited at Pasakha and other allegations of corrupt nature against the chief executive officer, executive director and other management officials of RICBL.

The investigation revealed that the RICBL management invested Nu 100 million at an interest rate of 9 percent per annum in Nubri Capital on February 5, 2013. It was found that immediately after three days, Nubri Capital deposited Nu 108M at 11.75 percent in RICBL.

The RICBL neither has the investment policy approved by the board nor the investment committee constituted.

“This investment contravened section 14 of the Regulations for the Issue of Corporate Bond 2012 since Bond Redemption Fund (BRF) must be deposited in an escrow account with any retail banks and cannot be invested in a fund management company,” the ACC’s report stated.

The commission has recommended OAG to charge nine RICBL officials and one official of Nubri Capital for offences of abuse of function (both commission and omission), participation in an offence, failure to declare conflict of interest, forgery, and accomplice liability related to Nu 100M long term investment in 2013 and 2015.

Most officials implicated by the ACC are the members of the Asset and Liability Committee (ALCO), which is the highest decision-making committee at the management level. RICBL’s ALCO members include the executives and the general managers of different departments. The committee is a forum where prudent decisions in credit, funds mobilisation and assessment are taken.

Circumventing the Guidelines, RICBL had made investments (equity) of Nu 30M in Sherub Reldri Higher Secondary School in Mongar and Nu 25.22M in Neethshel Private Limited, Pasakha in 2016. The two investments were allegedly made without regard to various rules and regulations for personal benefits. Concerning investment in Sherub Reldri School, the commission has recommended the OAG to charge RICBL officials criminally.

In the case of false insurance claim of the private Prado, ACC implicated seven RICBL officials and the owner of Prado for committing the alleged corrupt and fraudulent offences.

The investigation established that the insurance claim of Nu 226,546 was processed by RICBL staff and claimant in collusion by fabricating bill and document, submitting false accident intimation letter and underwriting insurance policy without following the due process.

Rinzin Wangchuk