Thukten Zangpo 

The Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs’ Department of Law and Order (DLO) and the Bhutan Kidney Foundation (BKF) each submitted formal letters of complaint to the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) on September 20, requesting investigation into a fake donation drive posted on Facebook.

The DLO found that the donation drive had collected a sum of Nu 112,000 in a Bank of Bhutan (BoB) account number provided in the fundraising post. It was found that 237 Bhutanese had made contributions ranging from Nu 50 to Nu 3,000.

DLO’s Officiating Director, Karma Dorji, said that before they could issue an order to freeze the account, the account holder had already withdrawn Nu 4,000. The order was issued at 10:08am on September 19. He added that the RBP’s investigation would solidify the details of the case.

“The money would be returned to the contributors at the right time,” Karma Dorji said. 

At around midnight of September 18, a fictitious Facebook account under the name “Dema Yangzom” claimed that her friend’s daughter “Pema Tshoki Dolma” was suffering from kidney failure and needed Nu 2 million for treatment in India.

A BoB account number and a photo of a child were shared in the post.   

The post went viral, and many Bhutanese started depositing money into the account and shared screenshots of the transactions.

A DLO notification states that to solicit donations, donation drive organisers must first seek approval from the agency, and urged the people to refrain from making contributions unless there is a valid approval letter number quoted in the post on Facebook or other social media platforms.

Edited by Tshering Palden