The amount the thromde deposited into an account never reached the firm in Bangkok

Thromde: Investigations are on to trace the USD 85,000, about Nu 4.93M that the Thimphu Thromde transferred into an account of a firm in Bangkok, Thailand, but which never got deposited.

The thromde had floated a tender to revamp the incinerator at the cremation ground in the city and a firm in Bangkok called Benjamin heating system, had won the bid for USD 170,000.

An agreement was signed between the two parties in March this year and the first installment of the payment for the three incinerators was transferred on April 30 from the Thromde’s bank of Bhutan account.

According to a source in the thromde, the email of the firm in Bangkok was hacked and an account number of someone else was mailed to the thromde, to which the amount was transferred.

The firm had not received the money and the thromde came to know about it in May. “The firm said the account of the thromde was hacked and they gave evidence which is irrational,” said the source.

However, after an investigation by the thromde, it was found that the firm’s account was hacked and that the thromde had received the wrong account number from the firm’s email.

According to the source, the thromde deposited the amount into the given account number and the money was disbursed to the firm.

The thromde has held discussions with a representative from the firm on the issue. Since the money had already been disbursed to the account the thromde received from the firm, the thromde’s stand is that it should be the firm’s responsibility to verify where the money was deposited.

“If the firm agrees to find out where the money had gone and install the incinerators then we don’t have any problem, otherwise we have to go through a government litigation,” the source said.

The Bank of Bhutan and Interpol are helping thromde investigate the case. Currently, the crematorium has one incinerator, which is however not used. The tender floated was to install three more incinerators.

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said the thromde is not at fault and that the firm should take the responsibility of installing the incinerators as well as tracing the money.

By Dechen Tshomo