Parties await ACC’s findings in PNB embezzlement case

The Druk Punjab National Bank Ltd employee, who was accused of embezzling more than Nu 10 million (M) from its automatic teller machine (ATM), and the management of the bank are waiting for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to conclude its investigation.

The bank filed its complaint to the ACC on May 20 and the employee also filed his complaint with the commission on May 26.

The employee was the in-charge of the bank’s nine ATMs in Thimphu. His main job was to refurbish the ATMs with adequate cash regularly for daily withdrawals and to keep the ATMs running.

His complaint to the commission cited that the management manhandled him during a meeting where he was interrogated about the shortage of cash in the ATMs. However, he had not reported the matter either to police or hospital.

The employee alleged that the management forced him to sign a confession letter, which was dictated by the members of the management.

“They tormented me so much that I don’t even recall what other documents I had signed,” he said.

The employee also alleged that the management had given him three months to conduct a thorough auditing of the transactions. “But somehow the branch manager reduced it to two weeks,” he claimed.

He also said that he was the first to report to the branch manager that the accounts of the ATMs did not match.

A team led by the bank’s internal auditor and the branch manager with two other employees who were acquainted with the ATM system functions conducted an investigation.

The report, he claimed, was not shared with him despite repeated requests to the management. “The management wrote back to me saying that it cannot be shared with me,” he said.

The employee said that he has made repeated requests to the branch manager to deploy another person since it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to manage all the ATMs.

The suspended employee, who is given half his salary during suspension, said that the cash should be there in the system and that he had not embezzled even a penny.

The bank’s chief executive officer, DK Gupta, denied all the allegations the employee made against the bank.

He said as per the system, there should be two people to handle the ATMs. He could not share details of the second person deputed by the bank. He said the branch manager also manages the ATMs. “Moreover, the ACC is investigating the case and we feel there is no need to discuss it.”

The CEO said that an internal audit team conducted an investigation and found that there was cash shortage in the ATMs.

He said that there was nothing wrong with the accounts in the bank’s system. “It was only after the physical verification that the bank knew some cash was missing,” DK Gupta said. “We don’t know how he did it.”

But the bank’s internal investigation could not determine how much cash was missing.

Nima Wangdi and Tshering Palden

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