ACC officials said that the commission is still verifying accounts of the beneficiaries and the embezzled amount could increase 

Embezzlement: Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is investigating misappropriation of Nu 2.4 million by a Bhutan National Bank Ltd (BNBL) branch official in Paro.

BNBL’s internal auditors reported to the commission that the loan disbursement payment model official (LDPMO) in Paro branch had embezzled about Nu 2.4 million.

As of yesterday, the ACC officials were able to confirm misappropriation of more than Nu 2 million.

ACC officials said that the commission is still verifying accounts of the beneficiaries and the embezzled amount figure could increase.

The official in question was accused of using 15 different BNBL saving accounts to divert loan installments to pay his personal loan.

The installment payments made by loanees are retained in suspense accounts or a term loan routine account with the bank. Loan officials concerned will then have to debit it from loan account holders and credit it to respective loan accounts.

However, instead of crediting to loan accounts, the bank official is alleged to have diverted loan installments and credited it to 15 individual accounts from where he could withdraw the money.

ACC’s initial findings established that a major chunk of the loan repayment was deposited in his wife’s savings account. The money was instantly withdrawn using his wife’s ATM card. He then made repayments to clear his personal loans.

ACC officials also met with BNBL officials to ascertain the total amount embezzled by the accused.

The issue surfaced after a client, who had taken a loan from BNBL, complained that Nu 20,000 was not credited into his loan repayment account. The official in question refused to pay the shortage.

BNBL then sent internal auditors from Thimphu to audit the loan accounts and found that the funds were being misused. The matter was forwarded to the police, who then referred the case to the ACC for further investigation on June 18.

This is the second embezzlement case from the Paro BNBL branch office. The Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan’s (RICBL) branch office in Paro lost about Nu 100 million when the insurance company’s branch supervisor colluded with three employees of BNBL and siphoned off money.  The ACC found that the four suspects had allegedly colluded to ‘fudge’ bank statements while withdrawing from the RICBL account through forged signatures.

The case has been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General for prosecution.

Rinzin Wangchuk