Four consultancy licenses suspended as investigations continue

Rinzin Wangchuk 

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) suspended the licenses of four consultancy firms in Thimphu after finding a prima facie case of corruption in connection with the waste management project being implemented by the Waste Management Division of the National Environment Commission (NEC).

In a public notification issued on October 12, the ACC notified all public agencies to refrain from entering into any contractual relations with four consultancy firms: ChhimiD Consultancy, United Consultancy, K.L Consulting and Services, and Professional Property Services.

The notification signed by ACC’s chairperson stated that the suspension of four licenses will remain in force unless otherwise rescinded by the commission or until the completion of legal proceedings and adjudication by the court.

However, the suspension will not affect work currently being handled with the firms.

The four licenses were suspended after the commission found some evidence of corruption to substantiate the case. The four firms are suspected of colluding in providing consultancy services to NEC’s waste management division. Three firms are alleged to have sub-contracted their consultancy services to ChimmiD Consultancy.

However, the commission refused to share further details about the case, saying that it is still a “premature case”.

The ACC, Kuensel learnt, is reportedly looking into how the waste management project in question, funded by the Green Technology Center (GTC), Korea, was allegedly mismanaged.

The waste management project started as a pilot project in September 2019 with the support of the GTC. It was supposed to upgrade the waste drop-off centre located below Kelki School in Thimphu into a high-tech waste segregation and recycling unit. The project kicked off with a joint seminar between the GTC, the NEC, and Thimphu Thromde on September 25, 2019.

According to the project plan, conveyor belts, magnetic separators, and collection bins were supposed to be installed at the drop-off centre to make the collection, transportation, and recycling of different types of wastes more convenient. The cost of the project was Nu 6 million and was expected to be completed in May of last year.

Bhutan signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Korea to promote climate technology to achieve low carbon waste management in the respective countries.

Kuensel contacted the NEC secretary to confirm whether the project was being investigated by the ACC, but he was not available for comment.

Edited by Tshering Palden