The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has found Mongar dzongkhag tshogdu thrizin and Tsakaling gup, Karma Sonam Wangchuk allegedly involved in fraud and corruption worth Nu 3.545 million.

The commission’s investigation found that M/s Dhenzang Hiring Firm, which belongs to the gup’s wife had fraudulently claimed public fund to the extent of Nu 3.545 million from contract works in Balam and Chali gewogs in Mongar.

According to the investigation report, the thrizin had intentionally used fictitious machine number to inflate the machine hours worked to exhaust the available fund balances before the financial year closing.

It also found that the gup did not exercise due diligence while passing bills for works executed in Tsakaling gewog by M/s UT Hiring unit.

Samten the uncle of the Thrizin’s wife owns the UT Hiring Unit in Mongar. He won the tender for hiring of an excavator for construction or maintenance of farm road in Tsakaling gewog. The ACC found that M/s Dhenzang Hiring Unit actually executed the works and Samten deposited all the payments in M/s Dhenzang Hiring’s current deposit account.  

The ACC report stated that the gup, who is serving his second consecutive term, was duty bound to oversee the development works in his gewog and ensure works meet minimum required standards. He purposefully deployed his wife’s machines in Tsakaling gewog, did not scrutinise the bills and approved as submitted therefore giving advantage to her firm with substantial amount of public money.

M/s Dhenzang Hiring was awarded the construction or maintenance works in Balam gewog worth Nu 3.49 million at the quoted price of Nu 2,200 an hour on January 2017.

ACC claimed that the accused prepared all the official documents and that his wife served only as a signatory in those documents as the firm’s license was on her name.

“This was an arrangement to shy away Karma Sonam Wangchuk’s conflicting official responsibilities of him being the dzongkhag tshogdu thrizin,” the ACC investigation report stated.

The firm constructed 6.945km of road and site verification visit with gewog officials and site engineer in February this year found two longer stretches were non-pliable.

“Hence, the scarce government resources have been wasted due to initial inadequate planning and monitoring,” the ACC report stated.

The Office of the Attorney General is currently reviewing the commission’s investigation report for probable prosecution.

Tshering Palden