Corruption: Dagana district court sentenced nine people to imprisonment early this month for corrupt practices, forgery and bribery during the tendering process of Shathog Goenpa construction in Dagana.

All were charged for petty misdemeanour. Among them, the proprietor of Chasikhar Construction, Thinley Jamtsho got the maximum sentence of a year and five months.  He was charged for using documents such as security deposit receipt of Bhutan National Bank in Gelephu belonging to Mangalam Construction and Friendship Builders, without the consent of the proprietors while participating in the tendering process.

In early 2009, three contractors, TNCL Construction, Chasikhar Construction and a construction company owned by Nidup Gyaltshen had participated in the tendering process of Shathog Goenpa construction. TNCL Construction had won the bid.

Shathog Goenpa is about an hour walk away from Dagana dzongkhag administration.

According to the verdict, just to disqualify in the bidding, Thinley Jamtsho had deliberately submitted incomplete tender documents. He had also accepted a bribe of Nu 50,000 from a contractor representative of TNCL Construction, Lham Dorji and construction manager, Sherab Jamtsho for agreeing to submit incomplete tender documents.

Contractor representative of TNCL Construction, Lham Dorji was sentenced to two months for handing over the bribe money of Nu 30,000 to the then dzongkhag engineer, Tashi Penjor.

While Tashi Penjor got three months sentence for accepting the bribe, Sherab Jamtsho was sentenced to five months for bribing Tashi Penjor and contractor Nidup Gyaltshen.

Nidup Gyaltshen was sentenced to two months for accepting the bribe of Nu 20,000 to deliberately quote high in the tender so that he could lose the bid.

Sherab Jamtsho was imposed an additional prison term of six months for faking documents of purchasing construction materials from Samden Enterprise in Phuntsholing and Sangay Enterprise in Thimphu.

Pema Rinzin, also an engineer at the dzongkhag administration had accepted a bribe of Nu 100,000 from the proprietor of TNCL Construction. He received five months in prison for accepting the bribe.

Proprietor Tharchen was sentenced to four months for bribing engineers.

Prior to re-tendering in 2009, another tendering had occurred early that year where Chencho Tshering, the proprietor of Friendship Builders was the lone bidder. Although he did not win, it was found that he had faked documents stating that he had carried out water connectivity works in Mongar hospital. He received a yearlong sentence for faking documents.

All sentences are compoundable, according to the verdict.

Meanwhile, Dagana dzongkhag engineer, Jamyang Dorji said the construction awarded to TNCL Construction was completed within deadline in 2009. But while carrying out annual audit the following year, it was found that the construction budget had exceeded the approved amount of Nu 5.8M.

“After audit found discrepancy in the budget, a copy of the finding’s report was submitted to the Anti-Corruption Commission, who then carried out investigation” he said.

He added that tenders for the construction was floated several times. TNCL Construction was awarded the works in the fourth tender.

Nirmala Pokhrel, Tsirang