Phub Dem 

The Royal Audit Authority earlier this month forwarded a case of alleged misappropriation of millions by the accountant handling funds of Drujeygang, Tsangkha and Largyab gewogs in Dagana to the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The accountant is accused of making excess payments for works not executed, excess, double, inadmissible payment of professional allowances, payments without supporting documents and wrong bookings.

Despite the bad reputation of the accountant, the RAA report states that the dzongkhag administration continued to let him manage the accounts of the gewogs resulting in numerous inadequacies exposing the gullibility of the overall system. “Although similar audit issues were reported in past, the dzongkhag administration did not institute appropriate measures.”

The authority held the head of the agency, dzongdag, accountable for all the observations, recommending appropriate measures.

According to RAA, the dealing officials, the head of the agency and drawing and disbursing officers, failed to discharge their responsibilities, reasoning that there was a lack of a proper internal control system within the dzongkhag. The RAA recommended relevant authorities to initiate appropriate administrative actions against them.

RAA audit observation revealed the accountant had misappropriated around Nu 3.4 million (M) of direct transfer of funds and excess payment refunds from Drujeygang, Tshangkha and Largyap gewogs were credited in his personal bank account and not imbursing the cash refunds made by employees or contractors in the Letter of Credit (LC) account, and retaining it in the personal account.

The audit noted unidentified cash deposits of Nu 896,663 in the accountant’s account, stating that a shortage of cash balance and failure to produce refund bill payments indicated probable misuse of funds.

The accountant is alleged of making Nu 2.1M in excess payment and inadmissible payments of various professional allowances. The report states that such lapses show that the dzongkhag engineering section, handing-taking committee, human resource and finance section had not been diligent in exercising controls to ensure the validity of the claims.

He allegedly paid Nu 2.14M in excess for short execution of works and inadmissible payment of various professional allowances including double payment.

The report states that the accountant made inadmissible payments amounting to more than Nu 432,640 to civil servants in the dzongkhag. That includes excess payment of salary, house rent allowances and difficulty area allowances.

It was found that the accountant made payments without vouchers or supporting documents aggregating to Nu 3M, and revenue collections amounting to Nu 127,951 were not deposited in the bank resulting in irregular retention of revenue collected.

Other observations include inconsistencies in bill payment for community contracts including excess payment of Nu 348,640 for the construction of toilet and taps at community center and toilet near vegetable shed at Drujeygang, maintenance of Tsangkha Lhakhang, and construction of micro-common facility centre in Largyab.

The report states that the administration did not present relevant documents to RAA for verification and the accountant could not explain audit queries related to the inadequacies.

Although similar cases were reported in the past, RAA states that the dzongkhag failed to institute appropriate measures despite RAA’s repeated reminders and caution.

Besides, it was found that the dzongkhag failed to resolve most of the audit findings from the previous audit reports; resolving only 40 observations from a total of 74 pending observations.