ACC releases former customs director, detains three more

Update: While the former revenue and customs director Choyzang Tashi, was released on August 10 after three weeks of detention, three more persons are reportedly under detention in connection with the Anti Corruption Commission’s (ACC) ongoing investigation in Phuentsholing.

Kuensel learnt that the commission had detained Choyzang Tashi for interrogation as the customs mal-administration, corrupt and fraudulent practices were mostly suspected to have started when he was the then regional director in Phuentsholing from 2002 to 2007.

Sources also said that the commission has forwarded five more cases to the Office of the Attorney General for prosecution on August 8. The commission completed investigations on JPLP, Rigsom Enterprise, Dorji Wangmo Tshongkhang, Rabten Pharmaceuticals and Norzang Trading.

All five cases were reportedly related to fronting, collusion, bribery, tax evasion, fraudulent import and deflection of goods, under invoicing and wrongful declaration of goods, and illegal repatriation of INR (Indian rupee) through deflection of zero-tax commodities and producing fake import bills.

In May, ACC also forwarded its findings on a customs inspector to the OAG. The commission usually presents its investigation findings to the OAG before forwarding it for prosecution.

The commission also suspended seven business licenses belonging to Anu Lamghadey after finding a prima facie of corruption. Seven licenses were operational under Tashi Enterprise and Anu Lam Ghadey Enterprise, both in Phuentsholing. Sources say that Anu Lamghadey has also been detained for operating nine liquor and beer business licenses.

Lal Chand Prasad of JPLP and Rajiv Bansali of DP Enterprise are also still under detention.

Two industry licenses, and three clearing agent licenses were also suspended.  More than 40 licenses were suspended and dozens of shops were closed after the ACC began investigation on April 20.

The commission notified that the suspension of business and trade licenses would remain effective until further order from the commission.

Kuensel also learnt that the commission is investigating the Bhutan Alloy Steel Casting. However, commission officials refused to comment on the ongoing investigation’s status.

By Rinzin Wangchuk

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