ACC zooms in on 3 cases in south

One former civil servant under detention

Corruption: The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) is investigating three alleged corruption cases in Phuentsholing and Samtse simultaneously.

One of the cases is the illegal transaction of land in Phuentsholing, linked with the ongoing investigation into the fraudulent transaction and transfer of land in Thimphu.

Sources said the commission has detained a former civil servant in connection with the illegal transactions of more than 13 acres land belonging to different landowners, including absconders.  ACC officials were not available for comment.

The second case being investigated is the alleged fraudulent and deceptive practices and missing stocks, amounting to millions of ngultrums from the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) in Phuentsholing.  The investigators are also reportedly looking into the alleged manipulation of data computation system managed by FCB’s IT personnel.

Sources said that one of the senior officials, who superannuated in August 2012 but was re-employed on contract basis for a one-year period, was terminated six months prior to the expiry, without any reason.

The management had asked the senior officer to hand over charge to his successor in February 2013.  However, the handing taking could not be done, as abnormal figures shown in the system report related to stock amounting to Nu 2.526M (million) and shortage of 36MT (metric tonnes) of sugar.  The management accused him of manipulating the FCB stock inventory system.

The accused, however, lodged a complaint to ACC in 2013 to investigate the alleged accusation against him, claiming he was wrongly implicated.

In a complaint letter, of which Kuensel got a copy, the accused said that the 36MT of fictitious credit sales of sugar, which was blamed on him, were not true and stated that there was a possible conspiracy to pass the blame on to him as he was nearing retirement.

The third case is on a talc mining case in Samtse, which exported talc worth more than Nu 20M in the guise of constructing a school.

The ministry of education approved the construction of a private higher secondary school at a closed talc mine site at Sukreti, Samtse on January 13, 2010.  However, a year later, the ACC had received an anonymous complaint, informing that the proponent was illegally mining talc in the guise of school construction, and that the proponent was digging more than 100m into the earth, deploying four to five excavators and 12 trucks daily.

This was confirmed by a Royal Audit Authority, when they were auditing leasing of government land, and mines in 2013.

The audit report stated that the joint team constituted to verify the complaints, as directed by the ACC, comprising officials from the education ministry, the department of geology and mines and Samtse dzongkhag, concluded that the proponent had deviated from the original construction proposal and was mining talc.

Sources said that the concerned department had not taken any action against the proponent.

By Rinzin Wangchuk

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