The action was taken because the companies had leased them to the dzongkhag engineer

Lhakhang Karpo: The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) suspended four more trade and contract licenses of two construction companies yesterday, making it nine licenses in all to be suspended in connection with the lhakhang Karpo project and Haa dzongkhag construction activities.

ACC suspended the four for leasing their licenses to the Haa dzongkhag engineer, who was also the project engineer of lhakhang Karpo conservation project.

Both trade and CDB licenses of Dorji Yanglay construction in Paro now remain suspended.  The reason for suspension, according to ACC, was that its proprietor Yanglay Dorji had permitted his trade and CDB licenses to be used by his son-in-law, Tashi Gyeltshen, the project engineer of lhakhang Karpo construction.

ACC stated that, by using these licenses, Tashi Gyeltshen had deceptively secured and executed the construction of the gabion wall at Katshochu, soling of Baytsho farm road, and fencing of the girls’ hostel at Ugyen Dorji higher secondary school in 2010 and 2011.

The commission also stated that the rules and regulation for establishment and operation of industrial and commercial ventures in Bhutan, 1995, prohibits leasing of license to any party or engage in fronting. “Section 44 (j) of Civil Service Act of Bhutan 2010 prohibits Tashi Gyeltshen to engage in such activities,” the ACC suspension order stated.

On February 5, ACC also suspended CDB and trade licenses of JT construction for permitting the use of its licenses by the project engineer.

ACC officials said these two firms were not involved in the alleged corruption case of lhakhang Karpo, but connected with the project engineer, who the Office of the Attorney General has charged with allegedly accepting bribe and embezzlement in the lhakhang construction.

On January 26, ACC suspended trade license and CDB license of TNW construction, Haa, trade licenses of Pema tshongkhang and Druk Leading enterprise, both based in Paro.  TNW construction’s licenses were suspended for allegedly bribing Tashi Gyeltshen, and supplying poor quality of sand for lhakhang Karpo’s construction.

Pema Tshongkhang’s trade license was suspended for forging bid documents for repairing the existing water supply system at lhakhang Karpo.  The trade license of Druk Leading enterprise was suspended for helping Pema tshongkhang to prepare the bid documents.  The license of LD sawmill in Haa, which was awarded the work to saw timber for lhakhang Karpo’s construction, was suspended last week.

ACC notified that the suspended licenses were not allowed to participate and enter into contract arrangements with public agencies.  It stated that the suspension would remain in force, unless otherwise rescinded by the commission, or until the completion of legal proceedings and adjudication by the court.

ACC also directs the construction development board to implement the directives and report to the Commission for their action.

Meanwhile, the Haa district court will conduct the preliminary hearings on February 9, during which all charges against the seven individuals, including the foreign minister, will be read out.

By Rinzin Wangchuk