Eden Dema was charged for alleged fraudulent practices to official misconduct
Investigation: The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) on January 23 forwarded the case of alleged corrupt practices against Royal Monitory Authority’s (RMA) former deputy governor Eden Dema to the Thimphu district court three years after the case surfaced.
OAG charged Eden Dema on various accounts such as fraudulent practices to official misconduct with sentences ranging from petty misdemeanour to misdemeanour in line with sections 61.3, 63.3 and 58.2 of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act 2011.
Section 61.3 of the ACC Act on protection of public property and revenue states that a person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding two times the amount which was so paid or a valued-based sentence.
Section 63.3 states that failure to declare conflict of interest is an offence of a misdemeanour. Section 58.2 on commission amounting to abuse of functions states that an offence under this section shall be a misdemeanour or value based sentencing, whichever is higher subject to a maximum of second degree felony if the value or the amount involved in the crime exceeds the total amount of minimum wage at the time of the crime for a period of 35 years or more.
Eden Dema was alleged to have deposited donor funds, which were meant to implement projects under the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, into her personal account. The money should have been deposited into the government account. Eden Dema as the project manager reportedly handled these projects then.
The other allegation against the deputy governor was tampering and manipulation of email correspondence to avail 100 percent Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) while attending a conference in Japan. Eden Dema allegedly tampered and manipulated an invitation letter and claimed a total of USD 900 as full DSA although the organiser bore full expenses including travel, food and accommodation. She was entitled to only 30 percent DSA in line with the RMA rules and regulations.
This particular issue was one of the main findings of a 2013 Royal Audit Authority report, which was shared with ACC.
OAG also charged the deputy governor for failing to declare conflict of interest. In its charge sheet, OAG submitted that Eden Dema failed to declare conflict of interest when recruiting a project manager and an assistant project manager in 2013 during which her niece and nephew were recruited. OAG submitted that RMA’s investigative officer and Eden Dema formed a two-member committee to recruit them. It was also alleged that Eden Dema temporarily recruited her nephew’s wife for the same project.
The alleged corrupt practices surfaced in 2014 following the Royal Audit Authority’s 2013 report that was also shared with the ACC. In 2015, the ACC wrote to RMA to suspend its deputy governor from her service for the alleged corrupt practices so that the commission could expedite its investigation.