Yangchen C Rinzin

Bhutan National Bank Limited (BNBL) has breached its own human resources (HR) policy by compulsorily retiring 10 support staff who submitted forged documents with service benefits.

This was found when the Royal Audit Authority’s (RAA) conducted compliance auditing in the bank.

BNBL paid Nu 153,932.02 as retirement benefits to the staff.

RAA also found that three staff who submitted forged documents are still serving in the bank and details of two staff who were also accused of submitting false documents could not be verified, as BNBL claimed they couldn’t validate with schools.

The support staff were recruited in 2017 and 2018.

RAA pointed out that although the bank was aware of such forgery, the staff were made to resign compulsorily with service benefits instead of terminating them as per the bank’s human resources (HR) policy. “The bank’s management failed to exercise due diligence during the document verification process where most of the staff recruited had forged their academic results.”

It stated that the management must investigate the recruitment process and establish whether there was elements of conflict of interest and culpable corrupt intent. “It should also hold both the recruiting officials and perpetrators accountable for such deceptive practices.”

The report stated that BNBL announced vacancy for the support staff in April 2017 and February 2018 with certain criteria. “A total of 1,070 had applied, of which 75 applicants were shortlisted for viva voce and then 15 staff were finally recruited for various posts.”

RAA found that academic results of 15 applicants were forged and marks were manipulated and it was the responsibility of the dealing officials to crosscheck. “This has deprived the opportunists for others deserving.”

According to the bank’s HR policy manual, the bank should terminate the staff in writing without notice or with limited notice. “However, the bank management did not terminate 10 staff despite being aware of forged document.”

The report also stated that another three staff who had forged their documents were still with the bank. “Although the management had asked the regional office to validate from their schools, the report mentioned that confirmations were not made available to RAA for review.”

It also stated that there was no visible action being taken based on such confirmation.

The audit report stated that details of two staff could not be validated, as records were not available with the school as per the BNB’s response submitted to the RAA.

BNBL responded to audit that it did not terminate but sent the staff on compulsorily retirement based on humanitarian ground, as the staff were from the lowest level.

RAA stated that humanitarian grounds is not acceptable and that irrespective of the position and background, the perpetrators must be taken action for such deceptive practices.

RAA has asked the bank to justify for abetment of fraud and corrupt act.