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The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General a case where Zhemgang’s Goshing Gup Sangay Letho is alleged of embezzling about Nu 10.594 million (M) from public fund between 2011 to 2015.

The ACC investigated the issue in November 2016 following a complaint alleging the gup of embezzling funds meant for construction of the gewog connectivity (GC) road in 2011 and farm road from Lamtang to Mewangang in 2012.

The gewog in 2011 approved the construction of the gewog road funded by small development project (SDP) and in the following year, the gewog approved the construction of the 8km road from Lamtang to Mewangang with budget from the government.

Subsequently, in the financial year 2011-12, Goshing gewog administration had departmentally executed the construction of the GC road with a budget of Nu 3M from SDP fund from the Government of India.

In the following financial years 2012-13 and 2013-14, the gewog administration received an additional budget of Nu 28.009M from the government for the spillover works and for the construction of permanent works along the GC road.

In the three financial years of 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15, the gewog had departmentally executed the construction of farm road between Lamtang and Mewangang with a budget of Nu 3.4M from the government and Nu 3.777M from the gewog development grant (GDG) respectively.

The investigation determined that the construction of GC road and the farm road from Lamtang were executed departmentally by Goshing gewog administration. The investigation found that all procurement for those two projects were dealt by the gup, allegedly with the intention to misuse funds by manipulating the bills in several of his dealings.

He allegedly misused Nu 4.177M by inflating the bills of Bhutan Oil Corporation (BOC) by colluding with an employee of the fuel depot in Gelephu for the purchase of petrol, oil and lubricants for excavators engaged in the projects under his supervision.

On 28 instances, he arranged with the BOC employees to exaggerate the actual fuel quantity purchased on the original copy of the cash memos, which were then booked or adjusted against the advances taken by him.

He is also alleged of misusing Nu 3.628M through fraudulent hiring scheme designed to benefit him by playing around with the rate of payment. His modus operandi entailed hiring of machines and trucks from private parties on agreed lump sum price but billing the gewog on hourly system thereby profiting the difference.

In some cases, he is alleged of making false claims against machinery, which was never deployed at the site. He had allegedly misappropriated Nu 0.664M by reflecting ghost workers in the muster roll payments. He had registered more than eight heads on the muster roll sheet between January 2012 and December 2014.

On another count, he collected but never accounted Nu 1.179M received from the community contractors for the use of Central Machinery Unit excavator and materials, which were otherwise from the gewog budget.

ACC investigation also revealed that he fraudulently made a claim of Nu 0.945 for the construction of the drain.

Tshering Palden

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