The instruction to hold the former MD’s decisions have raised concerns of corruption

Management: Employees of the Penden Cement Authority Limited (PCAL) in Gomtu, Samtse have been disturbed following a letter they received from their board’s chair, which they claim is an abuse of authority, nepotism and interference in the company’s management.

On July 3, the finance secretary, who is the board’s chairman wrote to the officiating managing director (MD) advising him to keep on hold all major decisions taken by the former managing director in the last month (June) of his service, “whether in operations, human resource or other areas, unless the action would impact on the performance of the company.”

The chairman also had called the acting company secretary and asked him ‘to submit the details of major decisions taken in June in relation to plant operation, marketing, and human resource,” among others.

On the same day, the officiating managing director (MD) Pema Wangche called a meeting of the heads of the departments to deliberate on the issues to be submitted to the chairman.

The members said there has been precedence where former managing directors made decisions until their last day in the company. They agreed that the decisions were in line with the rules, regulations and policy guidelines of the company.

The following day, Pema Wangche submitted all decisions taken by the former managing director. His letter to the chairman stated that it was difficult for the management to segregate the decisions that are to be kept on hold and sought his advice.

Sources said the chairman advised the management to hold only decisions related to human resources. Employees said that this decision and the chairman’s first letter to the officiating MD were purely based on the internal transfer of the chairman’s relative from administration to the security department.

The officiating MD Pema Wangche said that the transfer orders of four employees were deferred until further notice following the letter from the chairperson.

“After we issued the notice deferring the transfer orders, we realised that there were some problems in implementing the order from the chairman and so we stopped issuing notice,” Pema Wangche said.

The chairman, Lam Dorji, said that he was only conveying the board’s decision. The new managing director was selected on June 15 and the board was waiting for the approval from shareholders. The new MD joins office next month.

“Those decisions were put on hold only and not cancelled,” he said. “If the incoming managing director finds them reasonable then it would be approved.”

He said that among the decisions taken, some included granting extensions to employees, whose service had already been extended. “I don’t know if any one has that kind of authority,” Lam Dorji said. “In my entire career of 40 years, I have never been accused of such a thing.”

One of the transferred employees, asking anonymity, said the issue with the transfer order was that it was not routed through the human resource committee.  “This is against the norm in the company and the internal service rules,” he said.

Tshering Palden