Younten Tshedup

Of the 159 close circuit television (CCTV) worth Nu 2.146 million (M) installed at the Sherubtse College in Kanglung, Trashigang in 2016-17 fiscal year, 86 CCTV cameras were found to be non-functional.

The damage was due to wire disturbances and fibre optic line damage from felling trees within the campus. In absence of these cameras, the college lost two computer sets.

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) in its annual report 2019 categorised the incident as a case of mismanagement, resulting in irregularities in the audit findings.

RAA in 2019 issued seven audit reports to the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) and its colleges. There were 32 observations made by the authority amounting to over Nu 131M of which over Nu 38M were resolved as of January this year. More than Nu 76M did not qualify for inclusion in the report.

RAA reported significant unresolved irregularities worth over Nu 15M as for the RUB and its colleges last year.

As per the audit report, Sherubtse College had not directed M/s Penjor Construction Pvt. Ltd. to rectify defective works in the construction of self-catering hostels for the college.

It was noted that there were cracks and fissures on the hostel walls and plinth protection of toilets due to improper planning and lack of adequate supervision and monitoring.

The college had also not levied liquidated damages for non-receipt of furniture worth over Nu 4M from M/s JK Furniture.

The report stated that against the supply order of furniture worth Nu 14.553M in June 2018, furniture worth Nu 4.280M was not received even at the time of audit in March 2019.

Further, the college had neither followed up for supply of furniture, nor levied liable liquidated damages for the delays.

Also, the College of Natural Resources (CNR) in Lobesa, Punakha had not levied liquidated damages amounting to over Nu 9M for delay of 389 days in the construction of academic buildings and its site development from M/s Raven Builders Pvt. Ltd.

According to the report, the contractor was already granted two time extensions aggregating to 169 days till July 17 2018. However, the works were incomplete at the time of audit in August 2019.

These findings were recorded under the category of non-compliance to laws and rules that amounted to over Nu 13M for RUB and its colleges.

Under the shortfalls, lapses and deficiencies category, the RAA reported irregularities worth over Nu 2M.

CNR had not adjusted advances amounting to Nu 1.353M against 10 officials. Some of the dues were from the 2014-15 fiscal year. The college had also made excess payments of Nu 0.088M to M/s Drasindra Technology for procurement of 10 laptops.

Similarly, the report states that the Gedu College of Business Studies (GCBS) in Chukha had made excess payment of Nu 66,000 to M/s KW Construction for the construction of a human development centre and library building.

The excess payment had occurred due to difference in quantities passed as per the measurement book and actual quantities executed at site, states the audit report.

CNR had paid excessive advances over Nu 51M to M/s Raven Builders Pvt. Ltd. to construct academic blocks and for site development despite substantial delays.

The advances were released without obtaining bank guarantee in deviation to the provisions of contract terms and conditions.

CNR could not encash the renewed bank guarantee amounting to Nu 13.7M of M/s Raven Builders Pvt. Ltd. The bank guarantee was obtained against performance security of Nu 6.58M and mobilisation advance of Nu 6.58M from the Bhutan National Bank Limited, Wangdue.

Similarly, the college also could not encash the performance bank guarantees amounting to Nu 7.813M of M/s Raven Builders Pvt. Ltd. The report stated that M/s T-Bank did not entertain the claims for performance bank guarantees of Nu 5.5M from Thimphu and Nu 2.313M from Wangdue as the contractor had defaulted the overdraft facility.

RAA found that CNR had irregularly retained fund balance of Nu 0.763M from the construction of power substation under a government of India funded project in its current deposit account.