It was increased from Nu 100,000 following an emergency board meeting yesterday

Embezzlement:The Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Ltd. (RICBL) will pay Nu 1M (million) as reward for information that leads to the arrest of its employee who absconded after siphoning off Nu 91.605M.

The reward was increased to Nu 1M from Nu 100,000 yesterday following an emergency board meeting.

RICBL officials said the board members felt that the reward of Nu 100,000 announced yesterday was less considering the amount the employee had siphoned off. “The employee’s presence has become very essential as he is the prime suspect,” RICBL’s chief executive officer (CEO) Namgyal Lhendup said.

RICBL has also informed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the police of the board’s decision to increase the reward. This, officials said was necessary as an investigation by ACC is underway.

Preliminary estimates showed that the RICBL employee, a supervisor with the Paro branch office had siphoned off Nu 93M since 2013. However, with the reconsolidation of accounts completed yesterday, the amount changed to Nu 91.605M. RICBL officials said the amount could change further.

With RICBL seeing about four cases of embezzlement to date, this case involves a substantial amount. This is also the first time where information for a person involved in a crime carried a reward of Nu 1M.

CEO Namgyal Lhendup said that although the reward of Nu 1M was a huge amount, it would not affect the clients, shareholders, and creditors, among others. “I assure all our stakeholders that RICBL with a capital fund of Nu 2.3B, we’ve the capacity to recover it,” he said. “Our clients, shareholders, and creditors shouldn’t worry.”

The supervisor Rinchen Wangdi absconded on June 20 from Paro. After RICBL received complaints of the supervisor’s irrational behavior like his standard of living, RICBL carried out an internal audit in 2013 and 2014, but could not detect the discrepancies.

Since June 10 this year, a special audit team was deputed at Paro branch office but even before the team could complete the auditing, the supervisor absconded. The team, while verifying transactions sent to the head office against the bank details, observed the discrepancies.

Rinchen Wangdi, who is from Samdrupjongkhar, joined RICBL in December 2006 and worked in the Phuentsholing branch office before he was placed in Paro.  The Paro branch office is one of the biggest offices after Phuentsholing and Thimphu, where substantial transactions take place in both insurance and credit.

RICBL officials said although more people are suspected to have colluded with the supervisor, no one have been arrested to date.

By Kinga Dema