More employees could be involved and the total amount could exceed Nu 370M

Crime: Thimphu police arrested a project officer with the Bhutan Development Bank Ltd (BDBL) in Thimphu for forgery and tampering of public records on November 10.

The bank lodged the complaint with the police on November 9, alleging that the officer had sanctioned Nu 15.5 million (M) extra on the approved loan amounts of nine clients, without due process.

A police official said that the bank has also alleged that the suspect had forged the signature of the bank’s legal official in some documents. “We are carrying out further investigation. We are suspecting that the given figure is the initial one, the figure might go up,” the police official said.

Kuensel has learnt that more employees are involved and the embezzled amount is much higher. A source claimed that more than Nu 370 million was embezzled altogether.

An official with the bank said that an internal audit team has been formed to investigate the case. “We won’t be able to say anything until the bank receives a concrete report.”

One of the clients, who wished not to be named, said that the officer sanctioned the loan that the clients had applied for. “There are no lapses from our side, we submitted all the documents required and did whatever we were asked to do.”

The problem is that there is a procedural lapse, the client said. The officer is not authorised to sanction the loan but he did it which means he has the access to the banking system to sanction the loan, the client added.

The client questioned the officer’s access to the system to sanction loans. “If the officer doesn’t have the authority to sanction the loan then how come he has access to the system,” the client said. “It’s not possible for the officer to know by himself how to access the system, otherwise all project officers should have access to the system.”

Dechen Tshomo